Is this it, aka “Dynasty, or all downhill from here?”

Sometimes, I feel as though we play like this. Not always in the sense of this futility, but in the planned intricacy, the desperate high-wire act necessary to make our mojo happen. It’s like setting up a castell of midgets with an arch underneath for the littlest, and most talented one to run through while dribbling.

Hellz yeah, it worked …. this time.

There are times when I wonder about things. This video sums up my views on such matters, and the magic of our past season(s). So I Tweeted the aka bit this morning, and got some interesting responses. Then, in the afternoon, up popped an excellent piece from Brian Phillips over at Run of Play, wondering the very same thing.

And please understand, I don’t wish any doom upon the club or its players, nor am I the kid who prolongs consumption of the piece of cake for as long as possible, so as to savor every bite, even as he dreads the arrival of that last forkful. It doesn’t, after all, symbolize something lovely to be savored if you’re that kid, but rather that the cake is no more.


If we look at this season and its magic, a remarkable run that began with the triplete in 2009, some things start to rear their heads in looking at how truly magical this club has been.

It began with some remarkable injury luck the season of the treble, as well as fit, rested players who didn’t have to play a darned thing, not a single pre-season tournament or Super-anything. And we saw the results.

The luck continued last season, even if our UEFA/UNICEF/Barca cabal broke down, which was the only thing keeping us from moving along to (and probably winning) a second Champions League crown.

It is this season that makes us start to, if not worry, begin to wonder about the ebbs and flows of tides. For every high tide comes low tide, right?

–Xavi’s tendonitis
–Messi’s fatigue
–Puyol’s injuries
–Abidal’s tumor
–Adriano and Maxwell’s simultaneous injuries
–Krkic’s knee injury
–Pedro’s back injury

And so on. Who knew that Iniesta would be our iron man this season?

You go to see the Flying Wallendas, and you don’t think about how it happens, how scary the trick is, how much work is required to make it all look effortless. Perhaps if we realized that those folks were one wrong hand position away from tragedy, it would convert our sense of enjoyment into one of shamed ghoulishness.

After launching into a brilliant first half of the Liga season, with goals galore and as many accolades to match, the second half of the season found fatigue catching up with us, and teams beginning to get the hints of figuring out how to play against us. If you look at almost any of our goals this season, there’s craziness afoot. Inch-perfect passes, flawless control, balls bouncing the exact right way, etc. Yes, the luck is made by brilliance, to be sure. But sometimes, it’s just luck.

And luck can go away, as surely as it comes in this game of millimeters. So the mind naturally turns to the state of our intricate house of sporting cards.

Some say that with a few of the right signings and a conga line of immensely talented young’uns (Thiago, Rafa, Deulofeu, Fontas, Dos Santos, Montoya, Bartra, etc.), we’re a dynasty. The core of the first team is young, with the exception of role players such as Keita, and the irreplacable Xavi and Puyol.

Others say that age is catching up to us, just as other teams are. We lost the Copa final, and Guardiola’s intense, high-pressure act wears on player fitness and nerves, just as Helenio Herrera’s short tenure started blazingly and ended with him leaving a mentally and physically fatigued team.

And what happens after Guardiola leaves, and the players that make our dreams come true week after week, are injured/sold/become behavior problems/etc/etc? Our future as a very good team is secure. But as Mr. Phillips writes:

But Barcelona hasn’t just been a very good team over the last three seasons. It’s been an otherworldly team, one of those possibility-expanding, fourth-dimension miracles that occasionally bless the world of sports.

Which is so true. Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships in a dazzling, at times gritty and contentious, but always entertaining way. Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts kicked butt and took names during a glorious period in which they were mostly unstoppable, finally nabbing a championship against the Chicago Bears, a team that in 1985, had destiny written all over it when it annihilated the New England Patriots, a team that was looking like a for-real dynasty, but is now just a few aging, potentially gimpy players away from being a merely good team.

So not to sound maudllin, but enjoy this club. Enjoy Saturday’s match. Record it, burn it to DVD as so many of us did the manita, commit it to memory, revel in it, win or lose. There will be moments of unsurpassed grace, Messi runs, Xavi passes, Iniesta’s shambling runs into the opposition box.

If we win, it will be the crowning achievement of a side that can’t have many of these kinds of season left in it. If we lose, it’s still a paean to excellence, a club that has been to 3 Champions League finals in 5 years, one that was soooo close to 4.

Strangely, and once again this season, I’m not particularly stressed about a big match. But this time, it isn’t because it’s only the Plat del Reig. Rather, it’s because of teams, like people, having life cycles. Part of my belief system is that rather than mourning death, you celebrate life. And this team’s life, for however much longer it lasts, has been glorious.

And however much we worry about losing, and falling off the top of pyramid, isn’t that gloriousness enough?

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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. Whatever
    May 25, 2011

    Another piece by Kxevin. Hellz yeah! 😀

    Can’t wait for Saturday.

  2. y2k156
    May 25, 2011

    Excellent piece. Really nostalgic.

    There shall be end to this cycle one day and we shall be together with the club in the down as in up. Right now, as you rightly state, we just have to be happy that we are blessed with some sublime times and memories that i shall remember when i am old and can not see faces in front of my eyes. I shall still remember the glorious Messi pass to Villa for fourth Classico goal.

  3. messi_fan
    May 25, 2011

    Excellent article. Though another way of looking at the injuries this season is to think that DESPITE all that bad luck we’ve still been very successful.

    With this team though, it’s hard not to take it for granted. When I first saw Messi play I used to be out of my chair every time he touched the ball. Now his mazey runs have become almost routine.

    Every now and again we have to stop and allow the brilliance we are watching to sink in.

  4. Whatever
    May 25, 2011

    EE just sacked Valdano. Mourinho decides about everything now.

  5. Vj
    May 25, 2011

    Its like a rollercoaster. We will go down. But sure as heck, we will rise back up. Till then, lets enjoys the ride!

  6. Gogah
    May 25, 2011

    beautiful article and through it, you have also touched upon a psycho analysis of a typical cule (loved the cake analogy) while reminding us all to cherish and celebrate every bit of this team. no doubt the way pep’s team started with a bang, one can also expect the end to arrive at a bang. just like that. so more the reason to enjoy the now. visca barca.

    are u serious? EE sacked valdano?

  7. Vj
    May 25, 2011

    “Yesterday Barça, today Barça and always Barça!”

    I love Dani!

  8. May 25, 2011

    Great piece, excellent work.

    I have often pondered this fact, that as much as we can rejoice in the qualities of this team right now, it won’t last forever. It doesn’t have to, of course, so right now I have to focus on what this team represents. That is, one of the best club teams in the history of the sport, that plays the game with both purpose and an internal philosophy; one that largely got where it is with a backbone of locals and canteranos mixed with global talent… what–in my opinion–a modern, large football club should be nowadays.

    • May 25, 2011

      The last point is particularly salient. As wealth continues to concentrate at the top football clubs (as it will for us), the prospect of purchasing almost an entire squad from other clubs’ proven players will become much more attractive than developing one’s own players. How many great teams of the future will be starting 8 youth products in a continental final, as we’re expected to do this Saturday? Or at least a simple majority of 6? It seems far more likely that the great teams of the future be Real-Madrid-like monstrosities rather than canterano-founded mixes.

      • May 25, 2011

        The model you are describing fits very well with what is happening with industries around the world.

        Rather than engage in their own research and development they have chosen a path through which “growth” is achieved through the acquisition of smaller companies that produce the true innovations.

  9. I will just say the same things I said on twitter in response to Brian Phillip’s piece.
    – In execution, the Barca way of playing might seem like a complex coming-together of too many pieces, too many proverbial balls being juggled in the air, and if you drop one, you drop them all. But it is rooted in a very simple philosophy ingrained in every youth player, and coupled with years of practice and perfection. We have a template that works, and that in itself ensures at least relative longevity.
    – It’s only individual athletes who have peaks and irreversible declines, with teams it is a sine curve, sure there will be lows, but there are also bound to be highs, especially given previous point.

    We have the method, and the magic comes from outrageous individual talent that pops along every once in a while in a cycle. We might continue the success next year, we might not win a single trophy, that’s immaterial – I think over the long term, we will more often produce magic than not.

  10. Euler! Us admins are doing a little sumthin’ sumthin’ and we need your voice too, so if you could contact us (or me, whichever) before tomorrow, that’d be great!

  11. Helge
    May 25, 2011


    I’ll have a BBQ party in the garden before kick-off and this will be the first time that I can actually record a match to HDD / DVD!

    Nothing lasts forever, but I believe in this team, and if we won’t win the CL this year, nevermind. We were still an awesome, probably the most spectacular side of Europe!
    And there will always be a next season 😉

  12. flyzowee
    May 25, 2011

    Even though i kinda agree with what kxevin is saying, i for one am not scared of a decline or ‘the end of barca’ as some put it.

    Right now, we are a continuously evolving well drilled juggernaut with a truly tried and tested system of play that is standing the test of time.

    I admit energy levels are falling rapidly as we are increasing having to be selective in which part of the season to be in ‘laid-back’ mode and when to peak.

    But one look at our stats and u’d be tempted to believe the opposite is true.
    Our stats have gotten better and better since 2008/09 and the balance of our team in terms of age means that the bulk of our team will never retire at one given time.

    This is bcos the structure of the team facilitates the removal and replacement of vital cogs of the team without necessarily bringing the engine to a halt.

    It may be true that what we witness week in week out is some ‘baby boom’ of collective brilliance but in a worst case scenerio all we gotta do is look at Man Utd who are living proof that ultimately such levels of brilliance are more of a luxury than a necessity.

    The greatest gift this barca team can hand over to the next generation is the mentality they currently hold, just to ensure that we never go back to that defeatist attitude and inferiority complex of the past.

    Cycles will come and go with levels of performance but the psyche of the club can raise it to heights above its current level just as long as its engrained into its very core (re: man utd).

    This i very much believe.

  13. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 25, 2011

    it’s the cycle of life…
    you have ups and downs… health and sickness… glory and gloomy…

    we’ll see our team with zero trophy again, we don’t know when or how long that’ll happen…

    what we can do is enjoy and cherish the moments we had now… 🙂

  14. May 25, 2011

    The team will undoubtedly go through a down period as this moment cannot last indefinitely.

    And for that reason alone we should enjoy every game – and especially games like the one coming on Saturday – win or lose.

    When I watch Messi play I think about this quite a bit. Marco Van Basten was arguably the best footballer the world had seen since Cruyff and/or beckenbauer. Three consecutive ball balloon d’or awards. And with an ankle injury everything ended for him. He was soon out of football.

    During Sachhi’s great teams at Milan people were probably wondering about the same kinds of issues about will it last? For how long?

    And in the end – it didn’t. Milan continued with their success after Sachhi and van Basten – but it was an entirely different club with Capello. The glorious project was over and never returned to Milan – not the way it was.

    The answer to the questions Kxevin raises are greatly dependent on how much of a “system” Barcelona are. Not just as a team – but as a whole club. How much is there truly a philosophy that is broadly supported and believed in across sectors of the organization and the supporters? How much can that philosophy be translated into a strategy that can be operationalized into a set of tactics?

    That’s what sustainability depends on. It’s a question of whether or not Barca as an organization have developed and gained insight into the system that has led to this current success.

    • May 25, 2011

      And unlike many of the other major clubs, that question of how much of a “system” Barcelona are depends a lot on the socis. Down the line, when the club goes some years without winning a trophy, will a candidate arise that promises to change the system? Will the socis support him? Or will the sentiment remain on maintaining the system?

      It’s a serious question. To this day, almost all Athletic Club fans would rather keep their canterano/Basque-only policy in lieu of a more moneyed squad. Catalunya is different, of course. The thought of no trophies for years does not fit with Barcelona’s self-image.

      In this scope, I don’t necessarily hold the idea of electing our president as inherently better than the ownership style of most top clubs (like Man United, Chelsea or Arsenal). But it does have the potential of making the survival of the Barcelona system much more volatile.

  15. May 25, 2011

    Man, the president of Palermo says that if Pastore goes anywhere, it will be to us.

    In an exclusive interview with Italian daily Corriere dello Sport, asked about the future of the Argentina star, Zamparini said, “Pastore? Barça.”

    The Italian club’s president has acknowledged that “Inter, Juve and Milan want him, but his destiny is to play with Messi”.

    • BarcaGirl_Indo
      May 25, 2011

      yes, Zamparini said Messi asked for Pastore…

      if we take Pastore this season, it surely means bye bye, Cescy?

    • flyzowee
      May 25, 2011

      Hows a trequartista supposed to funtion on our team?

        • flyzowee
          May 26, 2011

          Exactly, u think pastore fancies being a bench player coz thats the only way i see it working.
          But in a 4-3-3, i just cant see them both starting.

      • Helge
        May 25, 2011

        Not as high as the media or Messi suggests.

        But I have barely seen him play for Palermo, his stats are not as impressive as Ozil’s, for instance (Ozil 39 scorer points, Palermo 20 in all club competitions).

        We don’t need such a type of player anyway.

  16. BarcaGirl_Indo
    May 25, 2011

    and Valdano has been sacked without any proper meeting?

    Perez said the decision took by Mou’s request and he also blamed Valdano for this season failure…mm…hmm…

    oh, and Valdano’s press conference is nothing but class, imo…a classy guy…

    so Real Moudrid is such a class institution, they treat their legends with respects, very much.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      May 25, 2011

      But that should surprise nobody after the way they treated VdB a man who dedicated all his life to that club and did win them the CL twice, to be sacked in an aisle by a suit. You would think they could not sink even lower, but hey, there is always room for it

    • culegirl3
      May 26, 2011

      Well it’s official..Mou can now do what ever he wants whenever he wants because his roadblock (aka Valdano) has been removed. Perez no longer runs the show, its all about Mou now all day every day over there in crazy town.

      This is EE we’re talking about where they crush the dreams of canterano’s, leaving them without an iota of hope of returning to where they’ve been bread.
      This mighty “respected” institution is where they’re likely to plot your exit while congratulating you for winning a title for them. Why anyone would want to play for them or work for them is beyond me.

      Aguero is as good as in EE so we’d best forget about him since he has his sights set on Madrid and Perez is about ready to sink his claws into him.

  17. WE HAVE A CUP FINAL IN TWO FREAKIN’ DAYS. I don’t know about you guys but I can’t think of anything else.

    I want to win this one so, so bad.


    • NeverEver
      May 25, 2011

      lol kari, in my mind I see you curled in the fetal position rocking yourself slowly as you keep refreshing the page.

      but maybe I’m just projecting 😛

  18. Most offsides this season (% of team’s total): Villa 48% – Messi 13% – Alves 11.6% [latdp via barcastuff]

    How did I miss this? 😆

    • May 25, 2011

      How did I miss this?

      Most times this phrase was uttered by (% of team’s total): Villa 48% – Messi 13% – Alves 11.6%

    • NeverEver
      May 25, 2011

      “He never shut up on the pitch” says Michel, an international team-mate. “He was always pointing and gesticulating as if directing traffic.”

      lol, he is still like this now but I prefer to think of him as directing a symphony :0D

    • arabella
      May 25, 2011

      “If you lose you will still be the best team in the world; if you win you will be eternal”

    • puchanamano
      May 26, 2011

      great read, im pumped for the final. anybody here from manila? where you guys watching the game at?

  19. Benj
    May 25, 2011

    Hey just wondering if anyone is from Perth, Western Australia?
    The Spanish Community is going to be down at Burswood Casino watching us play on de beeeeeg screen, should be about 80 family and friends there, so we’ll have a great atmosphere going.

    (For all of you not from this side of the world, kickoff is around 3am Sunday Morning)

    Can’t wait fellow cules, our boys are going to show who is el puto jefe.

  20. Alexinho
    May 25, 2011

    Mid-2000s Indianapolis Colts comparison to the golden-age Chicago Bulls and to today’s FC Barcelona? THANK YOU KXEVIN.

    Last season was so disappointing as a Colts fan, and arguably the season that ended in the Saints love-in wasn’t all that great and the Colts probably deserved to lose over the course of the season. But once upon a time, Peyton and co. put the hammer down in the first quarter with a touchdown or two, and at least another two and a 3-pointer by the end of the half. I’ll never forget two days–when they made up 21 points in the fourth-quarter against the Champion Bucs and to win in one of the first games in the season when the defenders still seemed to be tops, and when they won the AFC Championship (read: Super Bowl) against the other best team in the league, the New England Patriots. Maybe it was the Devin Hester touchdown that opened the scoring in the first play of the game, but the Super Bowl was rather forgettable.

    I apologize for all this football talk on a footy blog, but that reference really brought back some awesome memories during a time in which most of my Colts-related thinking relates to how shit our once-indomitable O-line has been. Thanks again Kxev!

    • soccermomof4
      May 25, 2011

      You mean the Indianapolis “Pilgrims”?
      Sorry, grudges don’t die with BALTIMORE Colts fans 😈

      🙂 Go Ravens! 🙂

    • stowe
      May 26, 2011

      funny, went Hester scored that touchdown I thought it was a chance for irony.
      My high school team was pretty awesome with a similarly powerful offense.
      Opening play against our rivals they returned the kickoff for a touchdown. We all shrugged our shoulders and said they wouldn’t score again.
      We wiped them out.
      Colts did the same thing. Of course I barely watched them game since it was a superbowl party

      • barca96
        May 26, 2011

        football talk on a footy blog

        Excuse me?? 😆

  21. hammeronmessi
    May 26, 2011


    that was exactly my thought.


    van basten is arguably the best since cruyff?really?didnt u forget a certain argentinian madmen.?for all his wonderful skills how did he play in italia 90?back then the world cup was stronger then the european cup competitions IMHO.

    But if not for his injuries we would have talked bout him instead of fat ronaldo as the striking phenomenon.

    simply wonderful player but not at the same level of maradona

  22. 145culegirl
    May 26, 2011

    The winning cycle do end sometime in future.Even in Barca’s case.And we should thoroughly enjoy the happiness they are providing for us.But,in my mind,I think the end to Barca’s winning cycle is not near.Barcelona is slowly regaining the popular staus they had as the “Dream Team”.Before the treble winning success,Barca were not in same bracket of Manchester United or RM.No Cule will forget those dark days where Barca were without a title for 5 years.

    Then,the team changed.Success came knocking on our door.Te team won the historic treble and won everything else which were put up on hold.Afetr that season,we plunged into success and now we are being compared to the “Dream Team”.Some say this current team is better than that team.Barcelona is being called the best team.

    So,basically in my mind Barca’s success started only three years ago.Many of the legendary teams like Liverpool,Ajax,RM(Of ’50’s and ’60’s class) dominated the football world for years.I know that it takes just seconds for downfall but it’s not yet for Barca.

  23. Neel
    May 26, 2011

    I don’t think I would be able to take it if Barca does not win on saturday. My main reason is this. I would have been more lenient in case we were up against any other team other than MANU or EE. EE for obvious reasons. MANU because if they win, then they would statistically be as good in Europe as the current Barca team considering the span from the beginning of this team (say 08-09 season). While most of the world already considers Barca the best team on earth for these years but I did rather want engraved statistics to also clearly show it. Down the time line, people are going to look at the number of trophies the team won against its main contemporary competitors.

  24. barca96
    May 26, 2011

    What a brilliant article Kxev!
    Sometime I wonder if you could write a better piece but then you always surprise me with a better piece…

    I think we will go in a transition period once Puyol retires (he is already in a semi-retirement actually). And then again when Xavi retires.

    • flyzowee
      May 26, 2011

      It may be a transition but not in normal terms.

      Thanks to the versatiliy of our players, any transition would be very swift.
      Puyol falls out and in comes Abi.
      Xavi falls out and in goes iniesta.

      Just a few tactical adjusments here and there. We’ll be fine.

  25. Champions League final thoughts are with me 24h day now…After a much needed brain rest from the classico madness where myself defense mechanisms protected me from thinking too much about our wonderful club…as of yesterday evening I’m back on track!

    We are so going to win this final!

  26. May 26, 2011

    Hey guys, it seems Luis Enrique has moved to Roma? I havent been following his news, but I’m surprised he didn’t stay in spain. Was relishing seeing my Real Madrid side defeating whatever club he joins! He is, after all, the most hated player in my books. Any thoughts on how this might effect your future coach?

    • barca96
      May 26, 2011

      I would’ve preferred if he stayed in Spain. Let him get used to the Primera and then take over from Pep.

      If he joined Pathetico, then yes, you have a high chance of beating Lucho (Enrique).

      • May 26, 2011

        him joining Pathetico would have made me hate that team even more, if that is possible that is.

        Despite my hate for him, i think he has been doing a good job with Barca B. Would have liked him to take over Sociedad or some La Liga side.

        • Why so much hatred for Luis Enrique?Is there anything else other than him switching sides?

    • blitzen
      May 26, 2011

      I love Lucho! I’m conflicted about this news. OTOH, I wanted him to stay in Spain but not to coach Athletico. On the other hand, he deserves to coach a world-class team like Roma and I’m sure he will do very well there. I’m sad that I won’t get to see him him in action, because I don’t watch much Italian football.

      Anyway, good luck to him! He is a very driven man, and I’m sure he has a brilliant coaching career ahead of him.

  27. 145culegirl
    May 26, 2011

    Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai is refereeing the CL final.I’ve never heard of him before.Can anyone tell how he officiates a game?.

  28. stowe
    May 26, 2011

    I think the reason that some speculate a fall from the heaven’s is because of our style. Whereas Man U and other great teams have won with both style and muscle, our team wins with beauty. I guess it hasn’t been tested whether or not someone will figure out how to stop us or maybe our necessity for inch perfect passes means we might get unlucky or something.
    It has been three seasons and we have faced all sorts of teams. The only way i see us becoming a normal great team is if both messi and iniesta have career ending injuries and i don’t think that will happen. The system is great but I think it’s the phenomenal players within it that make it so terrific. I think losing Pep as a coach could hurt, but I also think that the club is wise enough to replace him with someone who knows what’s up.
    that’s my two cents

  29. can_we_go_Xalvies
    May 26, 2011

    I think there is no doubt, this squad can continue its dominance in then future.

    I agree in football there is a fine line between success and failure, but tbh in the past 7-8 years, in seasons when we call it a failure we still managed to show our dominance in Europe and in the league. We changed our coach but nothing has changed really, except the mood and atmosphere and the size of our trophy cabinet. So if Pep ever leaves, this team will still be successful.

    But, eventhough right now we have the luxury of such players like Puyol and Xavi that peg this team above the rest. There will ALWAYS be players in the future looking up to them and trying to better them. Thats the beauty of this club right now. What this team is doing right now is inspiring the fans and inspiring future footballers who want to step into the shoes of the Puyol’s and the Xavi’s and Pep’s. Who knows down the track we could be seeing the dream team III era.

  30. May 26, 2011

    Viktor Kassai is officially the ref. Oversaw the ManU victory over Valencia this season. Reffed several matches in the World Cup, notably Spain-Germany semifinal and the USMNT’s loss to Ghana in the Round of 16.

    If this match is anything like that semi (with both teams playing on their strengths) we should be in for an epic spectacle.

    • blitzen
      May 26, 2011

      I can’t say I particularly remember the ref, but I certainly watched both of those games and I don’t remember any major errors on his part, so that bodes well.

  31. May 26, 2011


    Thanks for pointing that out. I was typing quickly – meant to write Cruyff/Beckenbauer and Maradona to cover a stretch of time. I think there are arguments to be made for all three of those players so I tend to group them together. Also, Van Basten strikes me much more in the mode of player that Cruyff was so I always associate him with Cruyff and other players whose strength was their all around play.

    Maradona is an interesting figure and the comparisons between him and Messi by extension are apt in some ways and completely off the mark in others.

    Maradona was obviously a sublime attacking player – dribbling, goal scoring and even passing. But Maradona did not defend at all. The systems he played in didn’t require it I suppose but he really didn’t defend well or have a high work rate.

    Van Basten was a strong defensive player. He was such a complete player. In that regard I think Messi is much more out of the Van Basten school of footballers than he is out of the Maradona school.

  32. Cesc Pistol
    May 26, 2011

    If we really are to wonder what will happen if/when this cycle is over -and I think Pep, Xavi and Puyol moving on might be the main factors- is to look for who we really are and then look at our past.

    While Cruyff’s playing days and most importantly the dream team philosophy defined what the club’s philosophy was, Cruyff was sacked when his team were in decline and his new ideas weren’t clicking. We stuck with our youth philosophy and improved it to great heights. While the playing style, in philosophy, strategy and tactics were different, and didn’t develop above those before. The dutch experiments were vaguely related, some attacking ideas stayed but I think that was it.

    So not very positive the first time round. But after Rijkaard’s era declined we were reluctant to sack him beyond the time it was obvious. We trusted our fate in the hands of an unexperienced coach with roots to a similar philosophy instead of changing direction (Mourinho was there but was rejected on the basis of philosophy etc.) Perhaps you could say Cruyff still had a strong say and definetely doesn’t have any now and to me that is quite scary, specially the fact that Rosell is very anti-cruyff. But these three cycles have proven their worth, strengthened in face of adversity, given us the best football ever seen each time, tested against a variety of systems meant to break it and enough room for variations to face coming challenges.

    In difficult times we may change direction when this sytem may not seem to work, we may be led by those who don’t believe in this philosophy or maybe the socis will cause it. Whatever the situation, This philosophy then, is now a core part of what the club is and will remain a very strong voice regardless of everything else. I think we can take some pride and comfort in that.

    • blitzen
      May 26, 2011

      Makes you wonder what Barca would be like now if they had hired Mourinho instead of Pep. *shudder*

    • blitzen
      May 26, 2011

      Oh, and you can’t say that Cruyff has no say. He is a very close friend of Pep’s, and they have lunch or dinner together quite often. What do you suppose they talk about? 🙂

      • Cesc Pistol
        May 26, 2011

        I was talking in terms of a long term perspective, post Pep, in making managerial/staff choices, having an impact on how the team plays and such. Think about it, we all thought Rosell was playing power games with Chygi transfers and such, I really doubt Rosell will ever listen to Cruyff post Pep. I’ll just hang on to the hope that Pep would last all 7 years and longer.

        And yeah Cruyff has mentioned talking to Pep about Barca in his columns, I bet they talk about spaces and minor changes in positions which exploit some minor weaknesses which I would probably never even notice.

        I remember once Cruyff talked about how Messi should play more centrally as his ability to cut through defenses will be much more dangerous and fouls on him will be very risky and people were saying he should mind his own business and not criticize Messi but I guess Pep was listening 😉

  33. blitzen
    May 26, 2011

    Speaking of Messi, this is cute:

    Messi’s use of tights and rocks and cola cans during his childhood in the Argentinean city of Rosario has been documented before, but it has not been revealed until now that he revisited the tactic recently. He stretches the tights between cans filled with rocks to give them sufficient weight. When the ball is kicked perfectly in the middle of the stretched surface, it bounces back to Messi, and he tries to keep the sequence going for as long as he can.;_ylt=AgkMLcty5TqZUCu6y1o.aMsHNgU6?slug=ro-rogers_messi_tights_cans_barcelona_argentina_champions_052511.doc

  34. Whatever
    May 26, 2011

    I just read this article for the second time… And one more time I am amazed. Brilliant. I am now even more grateful that I’ve been able to watch this team live.

  35. Blow-Grenade
    May 26, 2011

    Lovely video. Made my day.
    To answer your question, yes, that gloriousness is enough.

  36. blitzen
    May 26, 2011

    1200 BST: Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has assured Atletico Madrid that Los Blancos will not bid for striker Sergio Aguero, who announced this week that he wants to leave Los Colchoneros. The 22-year-old has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. (Press Association)

    From the BBC.

  37. soccermomof4
    May 26, 2011

    Great read, Kxevin. Well said. Let’s not take this for granted!

    I’m soooo psyched. I was gonna hafta DVR Saturday’s game, but now I’m able to get off work early to see it live!

    If we win, I’m going to celebrate this team and it’s season by making an excellent paella and having a cake (fully blaugranafied) for dessert (if I can still cook after the margaritas(the cake will be done at least—we’ll eat that)).

    If we lose, I’m going to celebrate this team and it’s season by making an excellent paella and having a cake (fully blaugranafied) for dessert (if I can still cook after the margaritas(the cake will be done at least—we’ll eat that)).

    But we won’t lose because I’ll be home from work and able to wear my 09/10 Campions t-shirt. We never have lost when I wear that shirt! Oh, and also because we’re awesome!

    Maybe I’ll buy manita ingredients instead of having margaritas?!? Either way, it’s party time for lovers of good football!

      • soccermomof4
        May 26, 2011

        2:45 EST I think!

        FSC doesn’t have have it live so I’m assuming that one of the Fox affiliates is handling it. I wish we could have our GOLTV guys do it, better pronunciation/ no pro-EPL bias.

  38. May 26, 2011

    Alexander Hleb on Puyol:

    Carles Puyol – He is a fighter. Not just in games – in training, too. One hundred per cent, all the time. He is the spirit of the team. He is very English in as much as he fights to the end. He doesn’t have great technique, but no-one has a bigger heart. He doesn’t do much talking in the dressing-room, shouting: ‘Come on, guys,’ or anything like that. He does it out on the pitch. And yes, we did take the mickey out of his hair.

    • blitzen
      May 26, 2011

      Xavi – He is this team. Unbelievable. His technique, vision, passing. For me, he’s the best at Barcelona. All the time I was there, I saw him lose the ball maybe twice. I’m talking about in matches and in training. He can play any game. One-touch, two-touch. He may not be the star with Messi about, but for me he is this team’s heartbeat.

      Hleb manages not to be a jerk! Yay! Then again, he is probably worried about where he will end up next season. Doesn’t want to talk himself into getting sold to Stoke…or worse.

  39. May 26, 2011

    Part 2 of the Zonal Marking CL Final preview is up. What it says to me, when I read it, is that United don’t have a chance. He’s right in that our weakest position is LB, where we have one of the best LBs in the WORLD, in King Eric.

    And they had a hard time with Iniesta in ’09. Let’s not forget that he was injured, and nowhere near the player that he is now.


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