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Book Reviews

December 7, 2013 / / Book Reviews

book

Joan Gaspart: “Barcelona is the defense of a country, a language, a culture.”

Okay, I’ll buy that. But you know what? I’m not Catalan, and I HATE Real Madrid. At my first Camp Nou Classic, I almost fell over the rail in a froth-mouthed rage. A complete stranger supported me at the waistband as I leaned over to spit invective.

After finishing Guardian journalist and Spanish football authority Sid Lowe’s “Fear and Loathing in La Liga,” I don’t hate them any less, even as I understand them a lot more, because Lowe makes it all make sense.

Jorge Valdano describes the Classic as “a club versus more than a club.” But, it should be added, not in the “mes que un” slogan sense. Barça means more than a successful team to culers and Catalans.

And if familiarity can breed contempt, so too can similarity. Because in so many ways, Barça and RM have parallels galore, as well as differences that are in fact similarities. That this is to be an unusual book is apparent early on, when Lowe takes on the myth of “Franco’s team,” and continues with a messy historical merging.

— The Catalans supply more Spain NT players.
— Barça was founded by a Swiss businessman.
— RM was founded by two Catalan brothers.
Read MoreFear and Loathing in La Liga, a review, aka “It has been forever thus.”

October 30, 2013 / / Analysis

ibra

Because she doesn’t have a mod’s login any longer, I have to publish this under my name. But this is an absolutely fascinating piece on the psychology of Ibrahimovic, and why he didn’t fit it at Barça, by Kari. It’s lovely to have her voice in these parts again, and let’s hope this isn’t a one-off.

A man sits on a barcalounger, hands folded in his lap as gazes out the window. His therapist listens attentively as he says, “My life right now is really good. I have a wife and two kids, live in a sunny, dream destination town, my co-workers are nice, upstanding guys, the workplace environment is very healthy, and I’m doing really well at my dream job where I make an obscene amount of money.”

The man pauses, scrubs at his face. “But I feel so…empty inside. My confidence is at an all time low, and I don’t feel like myself at all. I’m in this funk, you know, feel really depressed all the time, and I don’t – I don’t understand.”

So an interesting thing happened the other day. We won a Clasico and I was exiled out of the house because people couldn’t stand seeing my smiling mug derping all over the place. Okay, not actually true – I decided to go out myself, but at any rate I ended up going to a local bookstore (complete with comfy chairs and a Starbucks) because that’s what I do for fun.
Read MoreOf Ibra, Identity and the Differing Attitudes towards Sports Stars

April 4, 2013 / / Book Reviews
June 11, 2012 / / Book Reviews