El Clasico 2011: What say we just shut up and play football?

This is going to be short and sweet, and will begin with me agreeing with an EE supporter.

We shouldn’t have filed a complaint to UEFA, official or otherwise. I don’t know why Bassam believes so but for me, it’s simple: If there’s one person wallowing in a mud pit, they’re just silly. When you hop in with them, you’re not only silly, but you’re as dirty as they are …. by association.

What Jose Mourinho said is well known by now, so I won’t recap it here. I will say that the allegations were so fundamentally absurd as to beggar description. Other, respected coaches called them nonsense and the world called Mou Mou what he is, a chronically sore loser.

“It isn’t me or my team, it’s the powers that be that don’t want us to win.”

This is, of course, why Krkic’s perfectly good goal was disallowed last year, but that’s another story. This one involves a craving for dignified silence on the part of my beloved club.

Four El Clasics in the span of 18 days is a lot of morbo, kids. And as I was explaining to a colleague who tuned in to the match expecting to see an amazing football match, history and morbo make that impossible. That’s a lot of hate. Two times per season is plenty. Anything more and this kind of stuff happens, because how often can any of us see someone that we well and truly hate? Four times in 18 days, with all the extra stuff piled on? No way.

No. 1 didn’t matter yet we drew in their house, all but clinching the Liga.
No. 2 didn’t matter to me, but we lost that one, and they won the Copa.
No. 3 was going to be the one, however, the one that would be potentially for all the marbles, and you know what?

We won. We didn’t just win on the scoreboard. We won morally, by being the only team interested in actually playing football from time to time. We copped two away goals to none for them, won in every statistical category (including most fouls) and left them a whipped, whining mess with a gibbering paranoiac for a coach.

What do we really need to say after that? By protesting post-match grumblings as preternaturally stupid as Mourinho’s, we sully ourselves. We didn’t really need to do anything except get on with life, as UEFA was going to investigate rantings that crazed in any case. He might as well have said “Platini humps llamas!” Do we need to defend our honor in a legal fashion against stupidity such as that? No. Our honor was defended by the 0-2 scoreline, and a Pep Guardiola who put the smack down in the press room. Then his players put the smack down on the pitch.

The end. Or it should be.

Instead it’s two teams behaving like stupid, petulant children.

“You’re disreputable.”
“No, you’re more disreputable.”
“You’re disreputable times two. With doody on it.”
“Yeah, well …. well …. yo mama!”

We are dragging the game down into the muck, sullying the face of Spanish football (which, like it or not, both clubs represent) and making it all look silly. Mourinho and his club can do that by themselves. “Here’s proof, this video that shows nothing at all, really, but shows everything! And we have Tweets from squeaky-clean players who say you guys are divers. Neener, neener!”

What we should have done was sat in the corner, holding up two fingers and saying “See you on Tuesday. No comment beyond that.” Because you do one of two things to crazy people, depending on what kind of crazy they are:

1. Get them help.
2. Stand in the corner, point and giggle.

We have the greatest player in the world right now, who has scored 52 goals in 50 matches. His brace in Clasic No. 3 provided the stunning margin that makes our job on Tuesday immeasurably easier. Iniesta is still knocked, Puyol isn’t making the trip to Sociedad as he’s being wrapped in cotton wool, Abidal was training with the club, the Liga is all but won and we’re 90 minutes away from yet another Champions League final.

This is all news that I truly care about, far more than who fouled/dove/fought in the tunnel/called somebody’s mama a ho.

I like that the club and players are (mostly) silent about it. I only wish the board members had been as well. The allegations that UEFA is squiring us through competitions is like the contretemps over U.S. President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Why bother showing the document? People who believe he isn’t American aren’t going to believe whatever you show them. You just waste time, and give their ridiculous allegations credence.

Some will say that we had to respond in an official way to the Mou Mou claims. Disagree. UEFA is the one being dragged through the mud. As for us, did our players dive? Yep. Did they need to? No. Messi took more abuse than anyone, and he wasn’t diving. He was too busy trying to kill the other side. Was the Pepe incident a red, technically? Yep. Was he also hard done by? Yep. But it all happened on the pitch. The only thing that our club helping to prolong this business does is give Mou Mou some other stuff to react to, and have more press conferences.

And who really wants to see that?

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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. y2k156
    April 29, 2011

    I agree mostly to what you say but i still think some lines need to be drawn. What mou said needed to be retaliated and i am happy that we do so.

  2. Eklavya
    April 29, 2011

    This post reminds me the one you wrote after last year’s semis: “To my dear players, shut up and play football”. Well said, although I still don’t think we were wrong to report.

  3. sd
    April 29, 2011

    i have a question. if messi is the messiah and only “anti-football” can stop barcelona’s football…then is kicking messi and fouling to stop “anti-messitisim” and can we call the players that do that “anti-messites”? if this term has not been conned yet, then i am conning it.

  4. April 29, 2011

    This is one of the best things I’ve read in quite a while. Via Barcastuff:

    Maradona: “Messi’s second goal against Madrid was fucking great… The Madrid players looked like dolls.” [clarin]

    How great is that? Maradona said that about Leo.

    And then:

    Maradona: “Maradona or Messi? History will decide who was the best.” [clarin]

    Maradona: “Messi never wants to be subbed, just like me. He wants to play the 90 minutes, plus added time. And he always gives everything.”

    There’s been so much talk about Maradona feeling threatened by Messi, trying to “sabotage” Messi, etc. But I don’t think that’s the case at all.

    Organization doesn’t seem like it was ever a strong point for Maradona and the notion of him being a manager was just odd.

    More than anything, Maradona’s WC 2010 team was an exercise in nostalgia. He tried to structure the team like his ’86 Argentina team.

    In this strange way, he tried to give Messi the same opportunity that he himself had in ’86.

    It’s just that the game has completely changed since ’86 and those similar tactics implemented in 2010 were relics rather than timeless fundamentals.

    But those are very generous comments by Maradona towards Messi.

    Which is so nice to see given how heated things could be. Especially given the problems Maradona and Pele have reportedly had.

    • Miguel
      April 29, 2011

      You’re right. It’s impossible to stay mad at Maradonut! 😀

    • Eklavya
      April 29, 2011

      He’s been like that since a while though. He said that if Messi was considered the best then hed accept it.

    • chop
      April 30, 2011

      I think one of the reasons why the defenders looked like dolls was because they weren’t expecting Messi to cut to his right. Of everyone knows the scouting report that Messi cuts to his left 90% of the time. There were 4 main cuts in that goal. The 1st a short left to get away from Lass, the 2nd gambit to the right that totally fooled Ramos, the 3rd to the right where he just outpaced Albiol, and the 4th short one to the right to create the opening for the shot.

      1 cut to the left, 3 to the right, and the finish with his right peg. Maybe that’s why he was so happy. He seemed surprised that it worked.

  5. April 29, 2011

    And as I said in my response to Bassam in that post, and in our twitter discussion Kxevin, reporting to UEFA was one of the rare decisions that I hail the current board for doing. Unlike previous board that lacked professionalism in such matters.

    This is an institution, and it has to behave per se. And so we did. This is not subject to taste or opinion. Its a “This leads to That” Formula. full stop.

  6. mei
    April 29, 2011

    Kxevin , you are rejecting the formal report to uefa about the incident that includes as minimal press coverage as it can get and yet going on ranting about us not getting in the pit with them and complaining about the complaints.
    Well that sounds funny.
    There is one way to stop all this nonsense and guardiola has paved it.
    Lets talk about the football match that we play next, our player’s fit status and who are we gonna sign next season already.
    Hell abidal training with the ball is much more important news!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      April 29, 2011

      Yeah, transfer gossip, Smile

      Forwards: dream = Kanoute; maybe = Rossi; new kid on the bloke = Falcao

  7. April 29, 2011

    I agree with a lot of what you said, kev! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one on that boat. It started to feel lonely.

    Let me clarify on why I think it’s a shame for both clubs to be getting themselves into this mess.

    A) for Barcelona, filing a complaint was not neccissary. UEFA already released a statement saying that what Mou said in the press will be investigated. So the investigation was going to take place, regardless of barcelona’s complaint. Why file ANOTHER complaint then? What purpose does that serve? For me, it only aggravates the already bad situation on the pitch.

    B) what kxevin said: If there’s one person wallowing in a mud pit, they’re just silly. When you hop in with them, you’re not only silly, but you’re as dirty as they are …. by association.

    Spot on. If someone is a scum bag, why gO down to his level?

    C) has complaining about Mou ever served it’s purpose? Unfortunately he is a loose cannon and you are just giving him ignition to keep on doing the same thing. He was banned before and fined in England and Italy. But here we are and he is still the same. It really isnt going to serve the purpose that you guys think it is. The players and president of your club could have come out and said: these allegations are absurd and we refute them. Uefa was going to file an investigation anyways, so your complaint will only lead people to say: look they are pressuring uefa into taking harsh measures against Mou.

    D) this has a bigger effect on you guys than us. What’s good about Mou is that when he talks, people say Mou talked this and this. Not real Madrid talked this and this. On the other hand, when you guys get drawn into this mess, it’s the club that is putting itself on the line. Mou is a whiny guy, but just as his victories get turned into the Mou show, so does his press talk. Of course, I’m not saying it’s not bringing my club down, it is and I hate it. But Mou is getting the bigger hit. In the end, he will leave and so will the image he creates. But the question is, who is going to take this image away from Barcelona? Especially that prior to these games, your club thrived on calling itself as a non participant in media theatrics. An outsider will say: hey, if they don’t get involved, why all this mess with uefa already filing a complaint? Why are they going with a public complaint if they are a club that plays it’s football on the pitch.

    E) Conclusion: what kevin said: “Instead it’s two teams behaving like stupid, petulant children.”

    And hence, shame on both clubs. Hope this ends soon, because I’m losing my football appetite. More playing on the field ( ie, us actually attacking and not kicking and you guys not complaining and running to the ref everytime a fly lands on your players. And no dicing from BOTH TEAMS)

    • April 29, 2011

      Again Bassem, there is no shame at all on our club. At all. Lets not mix things up. It’s your club that backed Mou claims, so its all about your club, not ours. Sorry, I don’t master PR diplomacy all the time.

      You guys are mixing between a fight in the neighborhood and organizational routines. The club had a meeting and analyzed the situation from the legal point of view. And as I hoped, they didn’t hesitate and turned sloppy about it.

      Yes, UEFA said they will investigate. But we are the club that went under attack. If we dont show the UEFA we are taking this issue seriously, why will they? They will end up with a general statement and case closed.

      When you file it, you reserve your right for further procedures in case the current one (UEFA) didn’t do anything about it, based on the known laws and regulations.

      As for “image and reputation” and such stuff, we are not subject to any abuse. Its like saying:”even if that neighbor spits on you, don’t comment, just ignore it and don’t go down to his level”. Won’t work. If he doesn’t behave well, and his parents/house/club don’t know how to teach him the right behavior, we have no choice.

      Besides, I cant care less what people outside the club think. What I want is people outside the club to think twice before running out their mouth. Or else.

      We suffered with tabloids for a long period and the board ignored it. That’s what damaged the club’s image till the current board stepped in. You brought this guy to the Liga, you should have known better. He has no impact on our club, only yours. We are too good enough for him to have an impact.But thats not my thing to worry about, right?

      • Jose
        April 29, 2011

        If he doesn’t behave well, and his parents/house/club don’t know how to teach him the right behavior, we have no choice.

        Who is even in charge at the Bernabeu, nowadays?


        Mind the source, though. Deposed president Calderon claiming that Mourinho runs most of the club operations and that even superiors have trouble ever arranging to speak with him. What this tells me is a) opponents of Perez do see this as a public sentiment among madridistas to be exploited and b) that Marca seems to be slowly turning against Mourinho, in contrast to the other Madrid dailies.

        • Eklavya
          April 29, 2011

          ) for Barcelona, filing a complaint was not neccissary. UEFA
          already released a statement saying that what Mou said in the
          press will be investigated. So the investigation was going to take
          place, regardless of barcelona ’s complaint. Why file ANOTHER
          complaint then? What purpose does that serve? For me, it only
          aggravates the already bad situation on the pitch.

          We filed the complaint before anyone else did. We were already going to file on because the agreement on watering the pitch was not done. After the match the board deceided to also complain about the conspiracy. That’s before UEFA opened a case. Then RM filed one to protect itself.

  8. hammeronmessi
    April 29, 2011

    i disagree 100%.he is defaming barca a instituion,not pep or any other player.it should be reported,excellent work by the board.

    and pep incident to me a definite yellow but his history was against him imho.

    was it only me thinking that the posteres here are overanalyzing the pep incident?he touched dani,no he didnt,yes he did no he didnt.it happenef in the field, he got red,we won.get on with it.

    by the by the mou rant caused him great harm,even the brit press seemingly against him now.

    • Miguel
      April 29, 2011

      Good looking out! Love ya, Mama!

      Oier – EduOriol Bartra Muniesa Planas – DosSantos Ilie Rafinha – Benja Soriano Carmona

      Would have liked to have seen Muniesa play left back vs Real Sociedad this weekend but meh.

      • Para
        April 29, 2011

        I was wondering about this- Montoya is a right back, isn’t he? That means that there is actually no left back on the squad list for tomorrow, right? What’s gonna happen, Miguel?

  9. hammeronmessi
    April 29, 2011

    Shame on both clubs!!!!’!!!!!.

    there is no shame complaining when your neighbour is foulmouthing how u bought a ferrari?its not my neighbours job.if he did that then sure i will go to the authority.

    @bassam,i get ur point,but respectfully disagree.
    why dont u write a post about mou rant?a great club like yours supporting your mad coaches rant should never happen.its rm, not inter not chelsea,i think u know the difference.

    by the by, i truly like the rm of zidane.awesome attack but a shambolic defence.u never know which side will turn at that day.

    in a series like these i think our this team will beat them by 4 1 only for our defence

  10. vicsoc
    April 29, 2011

    I believe that a lawsuit is merited in this situation.

    The club has to stand up for itself. It is quite obvious that neither Pep nor the players are going to respond to the nonsense that Mourinho is spouting, which is a good thing – and you are absolutely right, their job is to shut up and just play football.

    The institution however has to protect its interests. Many sane people are lambasting Mourinho for his remarks, but there are a lot of people out there who will believe the nonsense. This is damaging to the club, and with the extremely high stakes involved in modern day football you can’t just sit back and be the bigger man in these situations.

    In summary – happy Pep and the players have shut up and are focused on football, happy the club is considering legal action (and not putting videos on the team website as “incontrovertible truth.”

  11. hammeronmessi
    April 29, 2011

    I hate players surrounding ref.but after the first 2 matches,there was nothing left for us to pressurize the ref.cause we didnt complain,and the rm players played the mou way and the ref didnt take any action.

    and busi nd p were simply disgraceful

  12. Jose
    April 29, 2011

    This is an institution, and it has to behave per se. And so we did. This is not subject to taste or opinion. Its a “This leads to That” Formula. full stop.

    Exactly. The club has laid a very clear line as to what requires action and what doesn’t, and RM’s coach accusing us of essentially match-fixing definitely falls into the line where the club has to take action. The institution is either consistent, or hypocritical, thus the club filed a formal complaint. If this were individuals we’re talking about, I would be inclined to agree, but institutions should function with such rules.

    Though I agree that Mourinho is dragging himself and that club through the mud, us filing a formal complaint about it doesn’t strike me as joining them, but rather making a formal observation to the proper authorities that the mud is filthy and RM and Mourinho are drowning in it.

    And hey, it’s not like we put up a post on our front page accusing the other club of ordering their players to dive, quoting twitter feeds and publishing possibly doctored videos on our site, in addition to supporting the right of our coach to make libelous statements about other clubs. That would be plain classless and disgraceful, right?

  13. just listenin
    April 29, 2011

    Hi all, I am pretty new to posting here. I’m a daily reader. Anyway, love this blog. I like the passion and commitment of your position on this matter too Kxevin… I don’t have that.

    I am very torn about this whole thing, I’ve been mulling it over and go back and forth on it. It makes me think of the quote attributed to Edmund Burke (and all the variations of it) – “All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent”

    Part of me feels like what allows this stuff to go on is that people who are wise enough to see through it think others can too. Also, those that are well equipped enough to see through these things can barely muster the motivation to do anything about because it seems so ridiculous. It happens all the time in business or politics, especially politics. One side claims , and the other side says, that’s ludicrous I won’t even dignify such non-sense with a defense, and then you see a poll… Do you believe ? and it comes back
    70% Believe
    10% Are you kidding?, that’s ridiculous!, and
    20% huh?? hmmmm…I got nothing here

    Nothing impedes the progress of what’s right more than loud mouth liars going unchecked. It’s not so clear cut how to respond in these situations. Part of me likes us standing up against a bully(and the BS) and another part of me thinks we should just ride above it. Leaves me feeling exasperated, and wishing that the not all that common, common sense could just prevail. But it usually doesn’t work that way, so maybe someone may need to do something – I just rather it not have to be me, because I see it as ridiculous. It’s this kind of a dilemma that lets one loud mouth, self aggrandizing, Machiavellian blowhard get the upper hand to the detriment of the many too often. I am comfortably uncomfortable with the whole thing.

    I can’t wait until the whole team is healthy again… Everyone talks about our talent, but our versatility and adaptation are absolutely remarkable.

    • flyzowee
      April 29, 2011

      Very well said.

      I also feel like the way you described above.

      But when you listen to mou and the claims that we have some sort of ‘power’ or alliance with uefa then sitting back as some suggest and letting uefa proceed to punish mou would in a way just serve to convince the already deluded haters and unfortunately some neutrals that indeed uefa and barca are a match made in heaven.

      Uefa aint our daddys, no siree.

      We are far far capable of standing up for our own and swinging in a couple of jabs for good measure.
      like someone said above me, loud mouths unchecked causes damage whether your being the better man or not.
      And we are finally and officially (thank God) done with taking their s*** with a freaking smile on our faces


    • tutomate
      April 29, 2011

      @Just Listenin
      There is a time for LISTENIN and a time for SPEAKING, you otta speak some more. Awesome comment. I’m glad we spoke up.

      • just listenin
        April 29, 2011

        @tutomate, thanks, I’ll try to not “remain silent”

  14. hammeronmessi
    April 29, 2011

    Mud is filthy and mou and rm was drowning in it,we made that observation by reporting.
    exactly jose

  15. Cule
    April 29, 2011

    I respectfully disagree with the basis of your argument, Kxevin. “When you hop in with them, you’re not only silly, but you’re as dirty as they are …. by association.” I don’t think it works that way. If someone comes up to you and starts hitting you, and you fight back to defend yourself. Would you consider yourself as dirty as he is?

  16. ermengol
    April 29, 2011

    “Was the Pepe incident a red, technically? Yep. Was he also hard done by? NOPE.”


  17. Miguel
    April 29, 2011

    Valladolid just scored. 🙁

    I see Milito slotting into that spot, as he did once before- don’t ask me against whom, with maybe Piqué and Fontás as the center back pairing. Or maybe Pep plays Jeffren on the left and three in the back? Piqué-Masche-Fontás? Depends on how Sociedad wants to approach the match.

  18. Miguel
    April 29, 2011

    Tied up at 1-1.

    Nolito swings in a cross from a free kick. Own goal.

    • soccermomof4
      April 29, 2011

      Now we’re down to 10 men 🙁

      • Miguel
        April 29, 2011

        I missed the incident. Who got sent off? Luis Enrique just put in Abraham for Soriano to reinforce the backline.

  19. blitzen
    April 29, 2011

    Got here just in time to see them blow a golden opportunity to score.

    Come on guys, do it for Lucho!

    • Miguel
      April 29, 2011

      I know. What a great pass by Nolito.

      • blitzen
        April 29, 2011

        And again. He is making great passes but they aren’t making the runs.

      • soccermomof4
        April 29, 2011

        aw crap 2-1 in the last minute of injury time

  20. blitzen
    April 29, 2011


    And a card for Oier too. 🙁

  21. Miguel
    April 29, 2011

    No way. Looking like Valladolid is coming away with the W in this one. Nice header from Javi Guerra.

  22. April 29, 2011

    Well said Kxev. The birther comparison occurred to me as well. Also, it’s the Da Vinci Code. Personally, I think we’re Tom Hanks.

  23. Lou
    April 29, 2011

    Nice article Kxevin, I agree.

    There is a big difference between this case and previous cascs where the board got involved. I’m thinking here of the legal action against the radio station in Madrid for the doping allegations , and the threat of legal action against the Daily Star for the fake interviews.

    Media institutions will stop printing lies if a big club like Barcelona threatens to sue them. Will Mourinho stop his conspiracy theories, and his implications that all of Barca’s trophy’s were won by cheating if we threaten legal action? Of course not! It just adds more fuel to his fire: “look: they try to get their friends at UEFA to punish me because I exposed their scheme!”.

    UEFA would have punished Mourinho whether we complained or not. No way will they let him get away with saying that UEFA is corrupt, and trying to make sure a particular team wins the competition.

    So what exactly is the club trying to accomplish here?

    • April 29, 2011

      I don’t know what the club is trying to accomplish, and that’s what bums me out. If you look at the complaint, it’s stuff like “didn’t water the grass as agreed upon,” “didn’t make any announcements in Catalan,” etc. It’s petty and childish, and beyond my comprehension.

      • PedroTheOffside
        April 29, 2011

        Watering the grass one hour before the match was apparently agreed between UEFA, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Catalan announcements apparently are UEFA approved at all venues except the Bernabeu. If an agreement is in place, a precise outcome is expected. What is more childish? Not adhering to the agreements or filing a formal grievance about the misconduct?

        As for the action of the board against Mourinho. No different than the action considered against Ibrahimovic and Riaola in the summer. I’m sure Spain and European nations protect the right to free speech some way or another, but there are obviously other regulations to consider. The club has an obligation to protect itself from certain kinds of defamation, which is what the grievance against Mourinho explores.

        I can’t fault the club for working through the proper channels to protect its interests.

      • April 29, 2011

        If he were world famous, I would know about him, right? “World famous” is a misused phrase. Michael Jackson is “world famous,” in that you can invoke his name anytime, almost anywhere, and people will know him. Lionel Messi is, by that criteria, NOT “world famous.” Neither is Studs-Up.

        Yours in correct nomenclature,

        • blitzen
          April 29, 2011

          Well if you had looked closer at the original picture you posted you would have noticed the http://www.studs-up.com url at the bottom and wouldn’t have had to have me point it out. 😉

          Yours in being observant,

          • Eklavya
            April 29, 2011

            I think Messi is world famous now. We don’t really realize it since we’re “in” it, imo.

          • April 29, 2011

            But the URL was noticed. That still doesn’t make the site or its creator world-famous. It just makes it from studs-up.com. Observational skills and parameters of fame are two separate arguments.

            Further, not knowing where they got it means precisely that. It doesn’t immediately assume that studs-up.com was the source and further still, that said source was in fact the source from which the cartoon in question was acquired. Given the many layers that govern Internet provenance, that’s a presumption that is always a given.

            Example: Someone posts a PDF of this article, with “Barcelona Football Blog” attached to the bottom, and says “Not sure where this came from.” Someone says “Barcelona Football Blog, silly.” But it might have come from Facebook, or Twitter, or Digg. Original sourcing vs where someone acquired something are two very different things.

            Likewise, “world-famous studs-up.com” means “world-famous to me.” This is technically true, since we are each our own worlds. But by any rational application of the descriptor “world-famous,” it just ain’t so.

            –And no, Eklavya, Messi is not world-famous. My mother doesn’t know who he is. She knows who Michael Jackson is, to continue the analogy. The only family member of mine that knows who Messi is, is a sister who just started following the club after the 5-0. My co-worker, a sports fan and Chicago White Sox fan in particular, doesn’t know who Messi is.

            I’d wager that Messi could vacation in Chicago, do some shopping on Michigan Avenue, and be perfectly fine. Michael Schumacher used to do the same thing. Thierry Henry was fond of vacationing in New York, where he was just another tall, fit brotha.

            “World-famous” is when somebody goes somewhere, anywhere, and stuff goes crazy.

          • Vj
            April 29, 2011

            Meh, MY MOTHER, knows who Messi is. He’s that popular. Just because someone in the world doesn’t know who Messi is, doesn’t make him any less famous..

          • blitzen
            April 29, 2011

            Good lord, man! All I meant is that if you had looked a little closer, you wouldn’t have said “Not sure where they got it”. A gentle poke, is all.


  24. April 29, 2011

    Ultimately, our side is mostly as delusional as their side is. They ignore Marcelo and Di Maria going down as if shot with even the slightest contact. TB, to his credit, only dove once.

    We say that the going down was stuff that we had to do, for protection or to bring the ref’s attention to such things. I keep coming back to the fact that Messi didn’t do it. He got fouled, got up and kept playing. Marcelo dove to earn the penalty that got them a draw at home, and you can see Mourinho making the “give him a card” gesture, just as we did.

    They say that only we swarmed the ref, which isn’t correct. We say that they kicked their way through the match, yet we had 22 fouls, to their 18.

    Some cite BritPress, who have been antis since we beat Arsenal, Chelsea then Arsenal. Others cite press outfits that are sympa to us.

    The truth is somewhere in the middle, and I struggle to find it, because it’s there that sense resides. Some have alleged in the past that this makes me less of a cule it doesn’t. But this stuff has to make sense, even if, prima facie, the actions of the clubs don’t. They should be worried about overturning the deficit in the second leg, we should be worried about how we’re going to keep them from scoring two or more away goals.

    Who cares, at this point, that the grass wasn’t watered and Catalan speakers were at a loss during stadium announcements?

    • April 29, 2011

      The truth is somewhere in the middle.

      But what’s so dissappointing with regards to this entire post match discourse (and here I’m referring to the entire debate and not just the filing of grievances) is how one dimension that needs to define that middle is largely invisible.

      This whole debate takes as it’s starting point the general notion that forms of violence are acceptable instruments to wield on the pitch due to their utility value.

      Diving is a moral outrage. One can build a soap box ready with thick struts to discuss that form of cheating

      But violence on the pitch carries no analogous moral weight.

      I find that astonishing.

      So by the parameters of the discourse the following are all acceptable:

      Arbeloa can intentionally step on villa to not only try to injure him but to also humiliate him on the pitch by dragging him off ground on the very pitch where he can became a star.

      It’s ok for Adeyor to slap Puyol in the face.

      Better yet – because busquets was diving it is perfectly fine For adebayor to hit busquets in the face at the end of the match.

      Think about the moral calculus behind that – it’s reprehensible to simulate but tacitly acceptable to hit someone in the face.

      It’s fine for Ramos to drive his forearm through messi when messi starts a run. That’s ok That’s not worthy of even a fraction of the ink spilled over dani embellishing

      And his is after Ramos disgusting tackle on messi at camp nou.

      What does Ramos need to do to messi to redefine the parameters for the discussion?

      When do the do we start getting the soap boxes oh about that? When do the well polished moral platitudes on that make their way into the football media?

      Because Marcelo stepping on Pedro is rightfully overlooked – Pedro deserved it I suppose because he was diving? So it’s ok for the commentators on tv to tell the world he twisted his knee.

      And on the whole it’s ok for so many in Madrid to ignore all of these realities and just begin defining the discussion and erecting their soap boxes with the notion that all of this is run of the mill. No big deal.

      After all pepe never broke dani’s leg. What’s their to talk about when the morally reprehensible crime of diving is taking place?

      What do all of you people expect we keep hearing. His is mourhino what else do you expect? It says nothing about the madrid as an institution or it’s tradition. It’s him – not the organization. It’s him who is slapping puyol in the face It’s him. It’s not us.

      Mourhino is the perfect other.

      So let’s start the discussion of what’s right and wrong- what’s worthy of hate with violence as a given. It’s him after all.

      It’s difficult to find the middle of a one sided square.

      • April 29, 2011

        And just for clarification – I in no way implying that any of your arguments are structures along these lines.

        Your formulation of all of this encompassing a difficult truth in the middle just got me thinking. It made me think about part of why finding that middle ha been so difficult.

        I was referring my comments to the general discourse going on in the media, between the clubs and unfortunately supporters rather than any of your points. Which are all valid and well reasoned.

      • Barcaleya
        April 29, 2011

        Very well said!

        I observed the same things. Most everyone (Madridistas, cules, neutrals) have villified Busi for his diving and acting up when hit. Same thing with Alves and Pedro to a lesser extent.

        But so few talk about Marcelo deliberately stepping on Pedro, Adebayor hitting Busi on the face, Ramos and his bodychecks, Arbeloa stepping on Villa and dragging him up, etc. No one.

        I have not heard anyone come out in anger and denounce these. Instead, everyone talks about the diving and the over-acting. Wrong as they are and completely disgraceful, I don’t understand why they don’t merit the same censure and disapproval as intentional violent and physically aggressive conduct.

        In fact, to go out there and break a leg is almost admirable while falling easily and over-acting is pansy and universally deplorable.

  25. Para
    April 29, 2011

    Oh the laughter. Can you imagine this? From Barcastuff:

    The evening before CL semis, Valdes showed the squad a video with sketches and imitations by him of – among others – F1 driver Alonso. [ep]

  26. BarcaGirl_Indo
    April 29, 2011

    I’m with Ramzi, Jose, Vicsoc, Jnice, hammer, and others on this one…
    and I respectfully disagree with Kxevin…

    I feel no shame on my club…

  27. Dani_el
    April 29, 2011

    Me too, I think sometimes it’s the “bigger man attitude” to don’t pay attention to awful conducts as such we’ve seen recently from EE, but this was simply outrageous, to imply we won the treble with help from UEFA or the RFEF is just silly and wrong, and I guess some “central lechera” media can play saying this with freedom of speech justifications, but for a coach, with the back-up from his club (let’s not forget this) to say this…well, but it’s not the first time for Mou, but this time he will (I hope) have serious consequences, I’m proud for my team and club, for defending our own interests, I just hope this doesn’t play wrong for Barza in the end.
    I also want to thank for the article! Although I don’t share the opinion, it’s great to read your writing, and also from Isaiah, Kari, Ramzi, so on…

  28. just listenin
    April 29, 2011

    There is something at the bottom of all this that is difficult, and it is the simple fact that it seems to me, in my opinion, that many in the Madrid camp, and followers, almost seem constitutionally incapable of admitting any wrong doing or mistakes – almost ever. Even those that do seem to do it with tongue in cheek, and patronizingly. I know I am generalizing, which is bad, but I’m talking in general based on the dialogs I am seeing by and large. It is as if they admitted any wrong doing their entire pysche would crumble and their fragile emotional foundation would come completely unglued. There is something in this double standard mentality that is very difficult. It’s a life insecurity problem or something. It seems to me the worst thing that can happen is to be beaten at their own game of managing perception, because it breaks up the delusions and that provokes a violent response because it exposes everything.

    I worked with a guy for a while who was a Madridista, and we were having drinks one night and he started taking shots at Barca, I defended what I thought bogus, and agreed when I thought he made a good point, he on the other hand, simply could not admit any fault and continued to justify and rationalize any insights I tried to find or challenges I made about their team. I finally said, “C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding, name me one fault or shortcoming!” – he wouldn’t and looked pained at the question. I then asked him to tell me one thing about Barca that was good, just one! – he had the good sense to go to Xavi and Iniesta, but you could tell he felt that was safe because of the national team, He wouldn’t go anywhere near Messi. Oh, and he kept saying Puyi was ugly, when I would say he was one of the great center backs of all time. Some well articulated argument, huh? It is a strange behavior, and has something to do with some kind of deep seated insecurity, where you have to believe what you are hanging your hat on is perfect, or else – it’s like a “we’re perfect or we perish” mentality, and they’ll fight to the death to maintain the illusions or delusions, no matter how convoluted their logic needs to get to sustain it – so what do you do with this? You can’t argue with this kind of mentality, if the narrative starts to crumble they’ll change the story, if the pictures don’t support the story, they alter the image, if you get found out altering the images, they claim the revelation is the real fake… I mean how do you argue with this kind of insecurity. You have to get a “parent or guardian” to tell them they are misbehaving, need some authority figure to intercede… Barca is seeking that authority, – makes sense to me. It’s like the old Happy Days episode back in the day, when the Fonz tried to say he was Wrong, couldn’t even get the word out. Was a sign of weakness to him. I might start calling Mourinho the Fonz.

    Sorry for the pseudo psycho analytical musings.

  29. Vj
    April 29, 2011

    I’m going with Ramzi, vicsoc et al. in calling Kxevin a biased idiot and will respectfully disagree with Kxevin.

    Mouron’s rant is beyond limits of decency. He should be punished. EE, being the Evil Empire that they are have shown their colors by standing behind that filth. As for M*****istas, they criticize the rags one day and the next they believe everything. They believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what’s true. They are blatantly favored in La Liga, with refs choosing not to punish them when they kick the heck out of us time and again. Just because no one else has cried the way they have now, doesn’t mean they aren’t favored. Asi gana Madrid..

    Make no mistake, we are above them. A couple of complaints won’t change that. But what Mouron said was slander. He even dragged UNICEF into it. Wow! A new low even for him. I pity those who idolize him. I hope he stays as their manager. The sewer is perfect for rats..

  30. Dani_el
    April 29, 2011

    “The sewer is perfect for rats..”

    • ooga aga
      April 29, 2011

      can i bring my favorite beverage to this discussion?

      world famous A&W root beer, the number one selling root beer in the world

        • ooga aga
          April 29, 2011

          you guys kept talking about “world famous” — made me think of root beer

  31. ooga aga
    April 29, 2011

    cant wait to see how EE play on tuesday. will they sit back and wait for two counter attacks? yes!

    • blitzen
      April 29, 2011


      Captain Puyi says, “Pay attention!”

      • Dani_el
        April 29, 2011

        How I’m gonna miss Puyi in 4 to 5 years (because he will be our captain at least until 2016!)

  32. Nikolo
    April 29, 2011

    Like Isaiah said when our players get fouled there will be a reaction. We can take it twice or thrice but after a point the non-protest, the non-reaction becomes moot. You are coming off as a pushover, a door mat. Something had to be done. It’s a good thing that we filed a complaint. And we did it before UEFA opened cases against both clubs.

  33. Nikolo
    April 29, 2011

    I am sorry. I don’t remember who said that in the blog. Not sure it was Isaiah.

  34. lea_terzi
    April 30, 2011

    I was just sitting here, really upset that my favourite team of all time, the team that is so height-challenged, talent-filled, physics-defying, full of spirit and togetherness, the team that brings so much joy to fans and neutrals alike..
    ..well, it seems to me this team missed another chance to prove once and for all their undisputed dominance of modern football.

    all I ever wanted is for us to win the CL without the circus and the red cards and reasons for doubters to say: yes, you won, but…
    I want us to manita everyone off the pitch without the ref blowing the whistle once.
    But I just realized: hey, that’s just not possible.
    It’s CL, folks. The toughest competition out there.
    It’s business. Everyone goes in to win at all costs.
    It’s football. The game of skill and luck.

    And yes, I’m bitter that red cards to Van Persie and Pepe (incidentally, the heroes of their teams’ successful gameplan against us) will always cast a doubt at the legitimacy of our triumph.
    But you know what? These cards are also a sign of our psychological, as well as technical, dominance on the pitch via possession football:

    If a team comes out to play us in a duel of attack, they have to press, run and communicate like crazy, which no one can do like us for 90 minutes, which means they either disintegrate towards the end, or get frustrated chasing the ball, and voila – RED card.

    If a team parks the bus and doesn’t want the ball – well, with that much possession our little geniuses are bound to find an opening. Unless they push, shove, hurt, choke, sit on and prevent us from scoring at any cost. And, CL being CL, that’s likely to end in RED.

    No shame in that.
    Now let’s go on to win the rest.

    *p.s. sorry about the offtopic rant, no one is reading this thread anyways :)*

  35. Jim
    April 30, 2011

    Been away for a day’s golf and didn’t want to mess up the following post so put this here. I’m with Kxevin and co on this one.

    “We’re getting no protection from the referees” – yes, the refereeing has been variable but on the whole not bad for such difficult games where both teams ( yes, both) have set out to con the refs. Despite this they have had a player sent off in each. How likely was that to happen and with each occasion sending off the next becomes harder for the ref. I honestly haven’t seen the atrocious tackles I thought I’d see in this series. Most have been petty, off the ball or the sort you see in the EPL 20 times a match. We need to man up. There’s been nobody carried off – well Dani but he was back on again ere long. (Btw, I’m with Dani in avoiding the challenge by any means but not the disgrace that followed.)

    “We need to protect our reputation” – well, we should have thought of that when we were diving and trying to con the ref. ( Not saying they weren’t worse, especially with their attitude to the whole game but they don’t have much to protect any more – we do or at least I thought we cared about it.) I posted after the match that when I went into work the next day the talk wasn’t of RM’s ridiculous defensive approach or their hard tackling, it was all about our diving and hassling the ref. Sorry, but that’s the way people in this neck of the woods saw it. Any way you look at it we did ourselves damage in the football public’s eyes. Do you care? Maybe not, but I do. I want this to go down eventually as the best team in history but atm the chances of that aren’t improving. You can be defined quite easily in public perception for a relatively minor but harmful action.

    finally, what is the best thing that can happen now that we are reporting him to UEFA who were already investigating ? In a way we might have tied their hands because any really punitive action will be seen as them cosying up to us. This was their chance to finally deal with Mourinho in a harsh way and we may have hindered it. Instead we enhance our reputation as whingers and they put in a counter suit muddying the waters. Why not wait, see the punishment and then if we still feel it hasn’t been dealt with start a lawsuit ?

    Lastly, rather than a dignified silence and allowing matters to be dealt with and the situation to calm down we fan the flames. Remains to be seen but what was a done and dusted tie will now be an edgy, bad tempered affair with possibly genuine intentional bad tackles ( what have they got to lose at this stage and out of everything?) and we may end up losing a player.

    I know we feel upset that we’re not getting the recognition either of our good play or RM’s bad attitude but sometimes it really is better to keep your powder dry and let your opponent hang themselves through their own actions ( rants, mental breakdowns, splits in their camp, dodgy videos, genuine RM fans not sure what to make of it all etc.) .

    Finally, to end on a positive note ( not sure if this has been posted but I love it! ) from Barcastuff *http://i54.tinypic.com/2znwy80.gif

    Somehow, with him back I just knew things would be alright 🙂

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