CL Preview: Barcelona – Real Madrid, Tuesday 2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel (HD)
I wrote a fairly calm and rational preview over on Soccernet that you should read if you’re feeling a bit tactical. But that preview was written before I knew about the good news concerning the man, the myth, THE LEGEND, Eric [censored] Abidal. Let me repeat that because I’m not sure you heard me: Eric Abidal is in the squad list. He had surgery to remove a recently-discovered Siamese twin. Like his own personal Jonas Venture except Eric is the crazy awesome one and not a dork like Rusty. And then Eric was forced to find the secret ingredients to cure a severe infection–the bubonic plague–in the depths of the Amazon jungle. When he ran into a Temple Guard, he took one of his pendants. That is how awesome he is.
There’s also someone else returning to the fold: Andres Iniesta.
The hero of Stamford Bridge and Soccer City returns with in his possession-laden glory. We’ve missed him, sure, but we’ve also survived without him and Keiteee has been magnificent. It’ll be unfortunate if Keiteee gets no time on the field, especially given that I think our Malian smiler does so much better when he gets the start. For whatever reason, he’s not great at getting into the groove of a match and often things go slightly awry when he’s subbed on. Not like “oh god we’re doomed” awry, but more like “wow, they suddenly have 23% possession instead of 22%. That kind of thing.
So then, we have two of our studs back and just in time for them to learn to play defense, right? Right? Oh god we’re doomed. Oh wait, no, we have our secret weapon!
Did you know he can play at any position in defense better than Raul Albiol? I did! And I certainly hope you did. I imagine he’ll play left back again with Masch and Pique in the center and Alves on the right. Busi in the middle with Xavi and Iniesta (if fit, Keiteee if not), and fronted by MVP. It will be all about possession.
And also murderous rage! Yay murderous rage! Wait, wait, no, not that. Controlled murderous rage. There we go. Much better. Because despite the fact that we just freakin’ did this, it’s still a clásico and it’s still something I’m going to be shaking absurdly about throughout the afternoon. That’s how I roll on clásico day, in case you wondered. Once again I’ll be 4 hours late on starting the game because of stupid work; paychecks are great, but why can’t they come even when I’m not in the office? So it’ll be another several extra hours of avoiding the internet and faking like I can concentrate while there’s a spherical object being foot slapped around a field some 3,800 miles away.
And don’t think this match can possibly come off without at least one rancorous incident. There is too much at stake and too much hot air being blasted back and forth. The I’ll Sue You brigade is out in full force on either side, the videos are appearing on official sites, and the word “pathetic” is being used entirely too often when not in reference to things other than the rojiblancos. Zing.
Valdés, Oier, Abidal, Puyol, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Bartra, Fontàs, Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Iniesta, Xavi, Keita, Pedro, Messi, Afellay, Villa, Jeffren.
Note the absence of Pinto along with the obvious ones of Milito, Montoya, Bojan, Adriano, and Maxwell. Am I missing anyone else? Probably, but I can’t be forced to think on such short notice. It’s only been like 3 days since my last attempt at using the old noggin and really, I’m out of brain juice.
Official Prediction: 2-1. Nervy moments at first, they grab one, and then we lay siege to them and get some fancy pants goals from el rey, Lionel Messi. And yes, they end with 10.
After this it’s over. After this, my emotional well will have run dry. And I will probably fall into a deep coma for 3 days before I have to write another preview. Oh the boringness of regular life…And I will enjoy every mundane moment after this, though perhaps only if we go through. But remember, we’ve never not gone through when up 2-0 after the first leg, so rest assured that history–and the best team on earth–is on our side.
Quickly, my thoughts on Busi: innocent until proven guilty. If innocent, Real Madrid owes us a hearty apology plastered all kinds of all over their website. If guilty, free transfer to anywhere on earth other than our squad. Or RBNY cause I don’t want none of that anywhere near me. If there’s racism within our ranks, we must squash it like the pathetic bug it is. The end.