Category:

Messi

January 11, 2015 / / Analysis

To say that today’s match against Atleti is huge would be an understatement. Is it even bigger than the last time Barça faced them at the Camp Nou, with the Liga title at stake?

Quite possibly, because there is more at risk than a championship here as you get the feeling that the club is tottering on the brink of an abyss. A loss to Atleti is the absolute last thing the team needs right now, as well as the last thing that the club needs right now.

Diego Simeone is relishing the challenge.
Read MoreEverything to play for

January 9, 2015 / / Elections

I did a recent Barça roundtable discussion and one of the participants, Nando Vilar, likened Barça’s fundamentally self-inflicted turmoil to citizens taking a very active role in their government. Following that, a commenter here, AllasFCB, Tweeted this:

How funny is that a fan/club member of Barca (Jordi Cases) took down Rosell and a player (Messi) took down Bartomeu. Only at Barca…

I would suggest that at Barça, and it’s a suggestion that is fundamental to the way the club positions itself and is believed in by its supporters, Messi is just as much a citizen as Cases. In many ways in both cases, the situations present interested parties with a quandary.

Cases was, many suggest, backed by anti-Rosell factions, enabling him to have a greater effect than if a mere soci were to have taken such an interest in proceedings.

Messi had what has been characterized by many as a “tantrum,” a child flinging his toys out of the pram. In fact it was a player reacting to a difficult situation at the club in a way that was presumed would have a real effect on proceedings. The complexity, obviously, is whether a player should have that much power at a club and just what is acceptable as a player takes a stand for what he believes to be a good reason. Completely aside, obviously, of what that reason might be.
Read MoreCitizens, to the ramparts!

January 7, 2015 / / Analysis
January 7, 2015 / / Analysis
January 5, 2015 / / Analysis

These are worrying times for our football club, when the din is threatening to shut everything out.

The people who want Enrique gone are screaming the loudest right now, and people who might be considering a different view retreat in the face of vehemence. People who say the wrong things are being attacked, and it’s getting personal.

Meanwhile, rumors fly about practice rows. Messi and Enrique had a fight because Messi wanted a foul called. In a practice match. The player who doesn’t go down, who gets chunks kicked out of him with equanimity, decides to draw the line. With his coach. In practice. Neymar and Mascherano had a fight. That they are the kinds of rows that happen all the time in a competitive situation is immaterial. Right now, they are different. Why? Because they need to be?

Labels abound. “Cheerleader.” “Gloomy.” “Negative.” “Bandwagoner.” And everyone rushes to have the last word.

And that’s just among the fanbase!
Read MoreVocational training, aka “Be a reporter”

January 4, 2015 / / Analysis

lrenr

The match between La Real and Barça today was one of the strangest I have seen in some time, for a number of reasons.

Most noteworthy for me is that this was the match that assembled every last dysfunction that this club has, and dumped it into a cauldron. We can talk about mitigating circumstances, chances created in the first vs second half, etc, etc, but the fact that Barça is a dysfunctional team linked to a dysfunctional club is, for me, beyond dispute.

But in a way, there is beauty in all of that failure in the same way that not being able to complete that last rep in the gym makes you stronger. Pain and misery, self-flagellation are party of any process that improves anything, because you have to fail before you can succeed. The problem, of course, is that you have the right clothes and all the instructions. It should be easy, and what if at the end of all of this failure is … more failure? Who wouldn’t opt for the ease of success and the comfort of the familiar?

You see it in the gym all the time, the people who do the same workouts with the same weights, always completing the sets and strutting to the locker room with a grin. “Another one rocked.” I always seek failure. Put another way, if I get to the last rep of a set in an unruffled state, THAT is when I have failed, because I didn’t push hard enough.
Read MoreReal Sociedad 1, Barça 0, aka “Choosing your path”

January 3, 2015 / / Analysis
December 20, 2014 / / Analysis

cordpedro

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha (pant, pant!) bwahahahahahahahaha!

Whew! Now that I am composed, Barça put the hammer down on Cordoba 5-0, to roll into the holiday break with a bang. This was a match was either wasn’t very interesting or fascinating as can be, depending on what you were looking for.

Prima facie Barça did what it was supposed to do in stomping a relegation side in Cordoba. 5-0. So what. Couldn’t they score any more? They put eight past Huesca. Do these guys suck, or what?

What was interesting for me was that Cordoba had 8, sometimes 9 in the box, determined to prevent Barça from scoring. Once Pedro stamped that first notion with a giant FAIL, their plan B was to stay close and maybe nick one on the counter. Luis Suarez’s soft shoe nutmeg put paid to that, and the rest was history.
Read MoreBarça 5, Cordoba 0, aka “Does it matter how the chef stirs the pot?”

December 17, 2014 / / Messi

FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga

The question was a simple one, posed by a favorite Twitter account, that got at the core of everything about this game that has become so much more for so many.

The more BVB fail the more I cheer for them and like them. What’s wrong with me?

My reply was a simple one, that “Hope is at the core.of sport. It’s why it’s all so beautiful. It isn’t the winning. It’s that moment when hope is realized.”

Even when humanity intrudes into sport, making game irrelevant, when all you want do is stop thinking about something and crying, hope is a part of it all.
Read MoreHope and beauty, aka “Making the nonsensical make sense”

December 13, 2014 / / Analysis

getpdr

The rain, the pitch, no penalty, Enrique sucks, Alves …

The quest for blame in the wake of a negative result scatters thoughts like dandelion spores in a hurricane, a fascinating search that often finds them landing in odd places and pollinating certain ideas.

But today’s draw vs Getafe was a great many things all at once, too many to lay at the feet of an individual unless that individual is the Getafe team, which played like lions today. Want to blame someone? Curse them and their moving, aggressive, systematic defense that took full advantage of a Barça team coming off of a very difficult mid-week match against a strong European opponent.

Full credit to a brave opponent, who were it not for a couple of Claudio Bravo saves, could have caused a much bigger upset than the absence of full points for Barça.

Rather than playing the blame game, let’s assess something of what happened today, and whether there are any solutions at hand.
Read MoreGetafe 0, Barça 0, aka “The correct answer to the blame question is ‘all of the above’”

December 12, 2014 / / Barcelona
December 10, 2014 / / Champions League