Champions League Preview: Inter – Barça, 2:45pmEST Wednesday, Fox Sports en Español (FSE).
I flew into Milan on a bright and beautiful morning in November 2006, having left Berlin early enough to catch the sun’s raise hitting the streets for what looked like the first time that day. As we swooped into Malpensa Airport, I was met by the panorama of a city that is know world-wide for being cosmopolitan, for being the nexus of fashion, design, and, lately, aging footballers. It looks stunningly gorgeous, as Italian as it gets, and certainly a welcoming destination. I never did see the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, though, because I quickly boarded another plane to head to Florence for a week of unadulterated sight-seeing and Tuscan sun basking. On my way back, thanks to an unrelenting bank of fog that closed the Florence airport, I was taken by bus by Alitalia through twisting mountain roads and tunnels and finally back to the airport late at night for a then-delayed flight to Berlin.
None of this was Milan’s fault, of course, but I was left, after my 14-hour travel day that should have been 5 hours long, semi cursing the city for having the temerity to be in my plans on a fairly obliterated day. That I still didn’t get to see the monumental stadium that is the San Siro was merely an added bonus in a long list of pejoratives that I used to describe all things northern Italian for a day or two, when I was able to refocus my distaste for transit authorities and metropolitan areas on the MTA, who, as luck would have it, delayed me a few hours in getting home because of random track work in New Jersey between Newark and Penn Station.
–The Cecs Fabregas and Javi Mascherano rumors will not die, probably because Hector keeps SMSing Txiki B. “Dood. Masch=$$$$! Bet!” Txiki B. says that the signing of either member of the midfield tandem of joy is “something the club has left for later.” He said that fiscally, it just didn’t make sense to try nabbing them in the climate set up by some Evil Empire tossing Euro banknotes about like confetti. Hmph.
Benitez still says that Mascherano isn’t for sale, and Arsene Wenger is said to be working up a “right smart” Gallic snit, before he comments further. Personally, I think that all the club has to do is send him the above picture from his Barca past, with a note: “Still winning, you could be here.”
While we wait for today’s news, individual highlights from the Getafe game of three of our players have come out on the youtubes. My personal favorites were Chygnasty’s crossfield passes and Zlatan’s long pass to Pedro which I somehow totally missed during the game. What about you? Enjoy:
Get used to seeing this picture, folks. Because the best football club in the world, by sending a player and a significant pile of dosh to Inter Milan–a move that had everybody on the planet questioning the logic of our Powers that Be–is now significantly better.
Yes, we took care of Getafe, at about half-speed as guys worked out cobwebs from Internationals, etc. Yes, they could have been up 3-0 before halftime. But that isn’t how it’s supposed to go, and so it doesn’t. When Messi tries a bicycle, it’s with the conviction that the shot has a chance. When a Getafe player tries it, it’s a “Well, let’s have a go” kind of mentality that isn’t as sharp as it should be. So one player’s slides inside the post, the other player’s bounces off it.
It’s just that simple. Luck? I don’t buy it. Skill and conviction decide matches, and aside from their zeal in committing fouls, Getafe didn’t play with the confidence that matched their advance, “We can beat these guys, blah, blah, blah” nattering. And so they didn’t. Because they didn’t really believe it. Read MoreGetafe 0, Barca 2, a.k.a. “The future is so bright.”
Whatever your thoughts on the match, you can’t help but laugh at Ibrahimovic surrounded by a pack of joyous midgets after both goals. I certainly did, but check out 4:24 and 6:08 in the below video to see for yourself:
Breath. In, pause, now out. Just let the air enter and leave smoothly, no hurries, no worries. Find your cave, don’t think about Marla.
Why the zen master approach? Because the league is back, baby, and it’s time to get into the season’s groove, but it’s too early for cardiac arrest. It is, however, time to do those breathing exercises and get ready to let loose on the world, one game at a time, at our miraculously high-decible level. This, of course, is what we’ve been waiting for. This is, naturally, what makes us so obsessive: Barça! Barça! Baaaarça! Hell yeah.
I do not subscribe to the idea that the past is dead, that we are obligated to win, that we deserve to win. We aren’t and we don’t. But we are obligated to play well, to play our brand of the truly beautiful game. In the process we will score goals and win games and that, of course, is the point, but it is also a fun bonus for us cules, who, day-in-day-out dream of tight passing triangles and one-two combinations more often than is healthy. I walk down hallways and play imaginary passes to imaginary teammates around coworkers who have no idea how badly they were just schooled. It’s thrilling. And not the least bit lame. You do it, too.
A quick and dirty news update, folks, to pass the time before Isaiah’s nifty-keen Getafe preview.
—Francesco Totti says that he deserves his fat contract extension, because early in his career, he turned us down. So there. Rock on, dude.
—Iniesta and Marquez are back in the side for Getafe. Both have received the okay from the medicos. Ghostface’s return took longer than usual, because he took the understandable risk of playing in the Champions League final. That match set back his recovery, but he’s adamant that he would do it again. Love me some Ghostface.
–It’s two months on ice for Thiago, who went under the knife for a ruptured meniscus.
Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war goeth the famous literary quote by Shakespeare, with an amendment (and all due apologies) by Kevin:
Cry incompetent, and unleash the dyspeptic dogs of war, gibbering, drooling, accusatory beasts thou art, to take a chunk out of the oh, so deserving backsides of Ruh Roh Dumbenech and Diego Maradumber.
Now, cules everywhere can be in some small part, thankful for the coaching ineptitude of Raymond Domenech and Diego Maradona. After all, once they do the trick and France and Argentina are out of the competition, those pesky international obligations will be over, once and for all, right?