Barca 1, EE 1 (3-1 agg), aka “A triumph on and off the pitch, and a farewell for now”

We advanced. Through all the nonsense, all the recriminations, all the nastiness, we advanced. People will talk, people will natter about what might have been, but we advanced, and are through to the Champions League final.

This match demonstrated a lot of things, but most importantly, that Mourinho got his tactics right. He knows that his side can’t play football with us, that the only way to make it happen is to kick, foul and try to make the match into a disjointed affair where his side’s strength on the counter and off set pieces can carry the day.

And it almost worked. Recall that he was all but playing for a 0-0 at home, then a 1-1 in our house. He only got the back part of that result, and history won’t remember that he almost made it work against us …. again. That we prevailed came down to some amazing, amazing football from our No. 10, who took the away and home legs by the scruff of the neck for about 10 minutes each time, but in that period in each match, he managed to instill doubt, to put them on the back foot and facilitate his team’s moving through to the Champions League Finals, against an opponent to be determined tomorrow.

There were many beautiful moments, from the goal that was scored, to Messi battling through challenge after challenge, picking himself up and proceeding to work like a demon unbound. The moment when Abidal came onto the pitch was glorious, and for me, despite what I can only imagine people are saying, the ref got the annulled goal right. Mascherano would have gotten to that ball, had he not been clipped by TB. Incidental contact? Perhaps. But certainly contact that adversely determined the outcome of the play, and guaranteed the goal.

This match had so, so many moments, but I can’t really do a review of this one, but rest assured that someone else will. Apologies to everyone, but I just can’t. Instead here are some pictures that for me represent the moment. I’ll deal with precisely why I can’t review the match, after the images.

Honoring Abidal

Messi abuse

Pedro exultation

And now for what is, for me, the bittersweet part. Obviously, these reviews are personal documents. Yes, they’re subjective evaluations of the match, but I put a lot of myself into them, as I do with any writing task. And for the record, this will be my last review of the season, and quite possibly my last, period. I know that he is innocent until proved guilty, but I just can’t deal with the idea that Busquets might have called Marcelo a monkey. And I don’t know what the outcome will be of the club’s investigation into the matter, or if there will even be one. I do know that I’m having a really, really hard time dealing with the pain that I’m feeling right now.

I wrote what honestly began life as a review with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It really, really hurts right now, because I just don’t know what to do. Guardiola dedicated the winning of the tie to Abidal, his wife and his children, an amazing thing to say. But Abidal is a black player, and you can’t help but wonder, if the horrible, horrible allegations are proved true, what Busquets would call him in a moment of strife. Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty. But for me, it’s the doubt. And it’s that doubt that’s killing me.

With all that weighing on me, I have to recuse myself from doing a review, because my heart just isn’t in it. For me, as usual, SoMa speaks with an eloquence that I can only hope to aspire to, so I will simply add her comment, and offer my apologies to the group. This document began life as a review. I watched the match twice, took the usual copious notes and everything. But I just can’t do it. It hurts too much right now to do anything except offer full disclosure, and my heartfelt apologies. Celebrate and celebrate well, cules. It was a job well done by the club.

SoccerMom speaks

This is a long-abandoned thread but I haven’t been able to get here until now. I think we need to be realistic here.

First: Sergio Busquets did not call Marcelo ‘momo’. He called him ‘mono’. This is clear from the video: a bilabial occlusive followed by a front dental articulation.

Second: Nobody calls anybody a ‘momo’. He called him ‘mono’, or ‘monkey’. This is a racial slur.

Third: Sergio Busquets did not put his hand to his mouth in order to make his voice louder to Marcelo. He put his hand to his mouth because he knows, just like the coaches on the bench and the partners on a free kick, that thousands of cameras are trained on him and he didn’t want his comments heard by the refs or decoded by the press.

Fourth: Sergio Busquets did not call Marcelo ‘mono’ in the heat of the moment. He does not appear angry, or flustered, or even particularly excited in the video (unlike, say, Xabi Alonso at the end of the first half). He calls Marcelo ‘mono’ deliberately in order to irritate Marcelo and provoke unsportsmanlike conduct on Marcelo’s behalf.

Fifth: There is no way Sergio Busquets is going to be removed from Barcelona FC. They made him, they broke him in, they bought him. He is a principal on a World-Cup winning national team, he is a starter on one of the best soccer teams in Europe, and he is one of the top midfielders in the world. He also has family ties to FCB. I would be very suprised at an official complaint, no matter how justified, from Marcelo himself or, more likely, Real Madrid’s behalf, simply because I would imagine that a lot of stuff gets said on a field that no one wants anyone else to know about.

I disagree with PJ O’Rourke on just about everything, but his quote (on drug use among professional athletes) is relevant:

“True, children look up to professional athletes. But children are short and look up to everything.”

If we want to discuss this matter — or any matter — let us do so, but let us do so honestly.

By Kxevin

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. And for the record, this will be my last review of the season, and quite possibly my last, period.

    OMG, this is a farewell for you……
    I thought this means a farewell for Evil Empire, but instead…

    I don’t know what else to say… I’m really sad to read this… 🙁

    1. I wrote what honestly began life as a review with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. It really, really hurts right now, because I just don’t know what to do.

      I got tears in my eyes when I read this… 😥

    2. Yeah, same. I understand where Kevin is coming from though.

      I hope you come back one day Kevin, I always look forward to your reviews after matches.

    3. I just want to add my voice to the chorus. Kxevin, I always look forward to your reviews (they’re my second favorite part after watching the matches!), and I hope someday you will write them again.

      That said, I understand why you need to step away right now.

  2. Kxevin, I totally understand and respect your feelings. I’ve watched the video over and over and it just doesn’t appear to me that he is saying that. Of course, I could be wrong. But, Madrid has resorted to so many sketchy tactics that this could just be another one. I’m sorry you are feeling badly and I hope it will be proven that he never said that. Hugs to you.

    1. it could have been fo tat(probably spelled wrong) which means “go F yourself” in catalan

      If he did say that, I can’t support the player either. He’ll have to make it up by donating time and money to underprivilage children in Africa or something along those sorts. Maybe that would help.

  3. “BUSI NEEDS TO BE TRADED OR CHANGE HIS BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY. I don’t care if he’s our top defensive midfielder, nor his starting role on the #1 Spanish side.”

    Keep in mind I posted this after the 1st Clasico, before any Marcelo nonsense. Anyone care to disagree with me now?

    (assuming he is truly guiltry)…If we keep him, we’re as bad as EE, as hypocritical as Mourinho. And to think this club can’t overcome one player (especially one who just cracked lineup a couple of years ago) is also foolish)…Yaya probably wants back in anyway:)

    For the first time ever Kxevin, I pray you are wrong.

    1. As bad and as hypocritical? No. We are bad and hypocritical, but not “as bad and as hypocritical”.

    2. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, I just know that I have doubt. Would I have the same doubt if I weren’t black? Good question, and not one that I can answer, because I am.

    3. Kxevin, you are black? I’m sorry, I’ll be finding another forum….

      [Kidding. Come on, someone has to keep the boards light around here]

    4. Just take some time off, time heals wounds, don’t quit, it’s a huge blow for this blow, and this community that you’ve created.


    1. I’m not going to argue out of respect for you. But also I know it wont help me convince you to stay. I’m going to have to copy and paste from Artur and just say “Stay Goddamit”!

  4. Do we have to turn a great victory into a conversation about Sergio? I personally believe both Sergio and the match should each have a separate article…

    Kevin don’t make this personal… This blog breaths and exists because of your hard work and sweat you put into it. Do NOT let it to just die. Yes this blog, without you, will not be the same. You are the one who addicted me to it and made me check it daily for my Barca daily dose and you also have the responsibility of continuing and carrying this blog on your shoulders. I am confident that club will address the issue sooner or later.

    I live far away, and yet you’re a great person I look up to and someone who inspires me. I don’t have many like you in my life, I don’t know why, I just don’t. Stay Goddamit.

    1. Hence my heartfelt apologies, Artur. This can be whatever the family wants it to be. That’s why I say celebrate the win. They spent 400 million bucks just to win the Copa? There is so much to be happy about.

      And frankly, I wrestled with saying anything at all. It isn’t up to me to screw anything up for anyone, but ultimately I don’t think that I can/will. The club did an amazing thing over these last 20 days, and that should override all, for everyone.

    2. Quite seriously though, particuarly as most of us aren’t up to speed on the video & full play-by-play of alleged Busi mono statement, perhaps we carve out all Busi references here to a 2nd topic outlining the play and the evidence? We have so much to celebrate…much like a jail mob in a Western…we can always wait and hang Busi tomorrow.

    3. Maybe the architecture of the front page can be tweaked sometime in the future. Especially around all these classicos, I’ve been wishing there were some sticky posts so we could continue to comment without fear of triple-hectorization.
      And maybe we should just feel free to keep the comments flowing on any of the recent posts (ie “post game party continuing at Kari’s last post, BYOC”)

  5. Kxevin, as much as it hurts, I’m glad you wrote this post and the last section, because I pretty much feel the exact same way. It’s doubt that’s killing me, doubt and the faint (very faint) hope that somehow Busquets didn’t say this thing, that somehow we’re all mistaken, that somehow our faith in this club and its players and its manager won’t be broken.

    As a black person, I can’t support and root for a player who does that kind of thing. I can’t support a team that sweeps it under the rug, and pretends it didn’t happen, and lumps it in with all the crap RM has done over this period of Clasico-madness. I can’t do it.

    Barcelona has gotten to a CL final, and that is a fantastic accomplishment. And yet, if I’m really honest, a large part of me is left cold by it, by all the pictures from the end of the game–with, of course, the exception of the pictures of Abidal. Those pictures will always be fantastic.

    1. How we don’t have an Abidal toss caption contest up on the blog yet is shocking to me….

  6. Kev,
    If it is your last, I’m honored to have read both it and your first.

    This Busquets idiocy has been tearing at me too. I have little doubt that he said it. Now as the 4 classico madness fades, it’s just a hole in the gut. F*** him.
    …and f*** anyone who would minimize this. And if that includes Pep, and most of Catalonia and Spain f*** them too.

    Are there any Iberians in the house? Cause I’m just sick with the idea of attending my first game in your country one day and hearing a monkey chant. Just how racist is Rosell, the Barca organization, Catalonia; the whole county, I wonder?

    Thanks for putting your feelings right out there. This place has always been mes q’un football blog.

    1. I don’t know how racist is the whole Spain country…

      but it happened in so many places…

      Madrid has Lass, Adebayor, Marcelo, etc…
      but in Bernabeu (according Graham Hunter), he heard the worst monkey chant in his life, from Madrid fans…


    2. The problem in Spain is that the referee is afraid of citing the chants. This is where the problem is. If the ref doesn’t cite the chants in his final report, the Spanish football federation can not take action.

      Against Atletico Madrid, Marcelo got monkey chants all game. The reporter asked De Gea about it and he replied with: It happens in all stadiums. Nothing we can do about it.

      Roberto Carlos during his days used to get the loudest monkey sounds from the Camp Nou. In Levante, the fans at one point jeered their own black player when he took the field (this was 4 years back). And as you said about Graham hunter and as Marca is claiming right now about the chants yesterday.

      Spain has a problem. It’s sad that no one is taking initiative to fix it.

    3. Icemel,while I agree with your first para,I cannot agree with your second. One man’s idiocy does not condemn his country,organization,or nation. And it shouldn’t.

    4. Unfortunately, have to agree to some extent. Spaniards definitely over-index in racism/taunting. I can’t say relative to France, Germany, etc. but I’ve had firsthand experience (I’m as white as Fantasma Iniesta by the way).

      I lived in Barcelona for 6 months for grad school, one of my friends & roomates was black, and also went out with a number of black classmates. We had multiple incidents, most back-handed monkey chants from hundreds of yards away by cowards. Unfortunately, this included Barcelona.

      The problem is largely hemogony. There is not much ethnic diversity relative to France, UK, or even Scandanavia now, and less personal experiences with peoples of difference typically result in much of this stuff.

    5. That’s why I’m keeping open (that and I must see this team play a non-pre-season game!) It just that the whole thing for a 21st century US citizen is flabbergasting. It’s as bizarre as if someone told me “It’s a tradition in Spain for fans (and some players) to sneak into the the oppositions dressing and take a dump on the floor.” The first time i heard about about a minky chant I was like WTF…must be some isolated littel pocket of the country.I argued myself for years into thinking I must be seeing Union Jacks, not confederate flags flying past my eyes on the TV in spanish stadiums.

      So with this disease (potentially)raising its head so close to home with busi, it like the blinders come off. I’ve been ignoring this ugly cancer in the beautiful game…in the beautiful county whose language I have adopted and hope to visit one day, for quite some time.

      I don’t think all in Spain are racists…but how is it these chants are not shouted down the moment they appear?

    6. I believe Fifa, Eufa, and all Futbol Federations in Europe have tried to weed out this epidemic; However, this problem is more than just in Spain. It shows a lack or class, education and most importantly respect. I believe Barcelona have taken a strong stance against racism. More so then any other club. FCB work with Unicef, Malaria as well as simply supporting the African players in the team to better help their countries is a testament in itself. You don’t have to like Busquets, just like I don’t like Ibrahimovic, but the institution better represents the values of most Catalans.

  7. Kxevin, all i can say at the moment is: Be strong, head up, and it will be alright.

    This has been an idea that i have been pondering for a while, but it seems like there is not better time to approach this other than now. In my mind, when something is happening and it’s wrong, sitting aside and letting it happen is not the way to go. All the people that started revolutions in the past took action against an act. Even if an action is not definitely going to yield results, but if you get your message across to one person, then you have done a good job. This has been something that i have been thinking about ever since i got into blogging. Especially when i started taking a closer look into Spanish football. So here is my suggestions:

    You are a very famous blogger at one of, if not the most, famous Barcelona blog out there. You have the people listening, so preach. Not about Busi, but about the whole idea of racism in football as an entity. The best thing you can do with your power is bring awareness. It might not stop racism from ending in spanish stadiums, but if it changes one persons mind, then you have done a great job.

    Again, with BFB being as famous as it is, I’m sure you can get the message across. And I am more than willing to join hands with a cule in this issue that erases Madradista’s and cules from the equation and strips us all down to humans. You have a popular barcelona site, I have a popular Real Madrid site. We both know the power of social media. You, and a lot of the people here, can really get a message across.

    What I’m describing above is a campaign i was hoping to start in the summer, and in 20 days, once i finish my undergrad career, i plan on working seriously on it.

    Again, i understand that you are hurt, and I’m not an african american, but it pains me to see such behavior in the world. Again, this is not about Busi for me. It’s about Racism as a whole. I sure do hope, after all settles well, you opt to take action.

    So finally, be strong and may god be with you. *virtual bro hug*

    1. Excellent idea, Bassam. I’m very new to this site and am sadden with the possible lose of a knowledgable writer. I hope Kxevin that you will see the power you have and not leave–solidarity. We support you and are willing to help.

      PS Good luck everyone on your finals and upcoming papers.

  8. agree with Artur…
    yes, your unique and incredible review, Kxevin, is the one which attracked me to this blog…

    after the match, I always, always, looked for your review and rating, because I believe you put your heart and time for that…
    that is why, I feel very very sad to read this…
    I can’t be happy with the fact that we’re gonna lose a great piece of works from a friend… 🙁

  9. Thanks for your honesty Kxevin and in my opinion racism on the part of a Barca player would trump a win vs Madrid. If it’s true, it’s wrong and disheartening, but if it didn’t happen, I’m concerned as to how Busquets proves a negative in order to remove all doubt.

  10. I’ve felt,especially since Busquets pulled that shameful trick against Motta last year,that he did not deserve to be at FC Barcelona. He has been a disgrace to all cules for a long time. And this is someone who refused to accept,and then finally had to embrace,that Busquets was genuinely one of the best midfielders in the world for Barcelona. Like Isaiah,I have always been a huge Yaya fan (and seriously,I watch Man City highlights just for him and Silva). And I was never in favor of Busquets.

    But he played well,and that was that – he earned his place. He’s been a fantastic holding midfielder for us,he’s filled in exceptionally well at CB,I’ve never seen him be lazy (just incompetent at times,and he improved that over time,we can all agree). But nothing that he does can ever excuse his cheating, nothing that he does can ever excuse him being racist, if it is indeed true.

    This isn’t an ‘I told you so’ comment. It’s a ‘shaking my head in sadness’ comment.

    I’m not black. But I’ve been subject to a fair amount of discrimination and racism and prejudice myself. It doesn’t move me to tears – but it removes any soft spot I might have for someone who practices or condones any form of prejudice or discrimination, racial or otherwise.

  11. Well, I posted my response to SoMa in that thread, but I will say again: I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t believe the allegation is true. I have watched the video several times. I don’t know what it is, but something is wrong about it. I know that I am supposed to believe he said “mono”, and I know that the subtitles encourage me to believe that. But. Whether it is because it is slowed down, or it has been manipulated, or doctored, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. I am just not willing to write someone off based on that. You mentioned twice that he is innocent until proven guilty…but I’m not sure you believe that.

    Anyway, this isn’t about Busquets. It’s about you. You are the heart and soul of this blog. I am really sorry for what you are feeling right now. I can only hope that your feelings for the club will overcome the negativity you are experiencing right now. All of us here appreciate your contributions, and I personally hope you will reconsider and stick around to fight the good fight,.

    1. Indeed – making one’s statement more declarative doesn’t mean it becomes more factual. To me it doesn’t look like he said “mono,” and I’ve often put my hand near my mouth to make myself heard in a noisy place. But that’s just how I see it. If Busi did indeed do the deed, it is horrible and I support what others are saying about punishment/removal, but it is not conclusive at all right now. Those at the the capital seem to just be throwing whatever they can and seeing what sticks.

  12. I understand your sadness…But wouldn’t quitting because of this shameful( if it is proven) act a way of giving in to these disgraceful things. Shouldn’t our voices be heard louder now, condemning such incidents then mutely bowing our heads?? So it is your voice ( in fact all our voices screamed in unison)and not to your silence which will be most beneficial to eliminate this…


    Villa could have given pedro a herniated disc tackling him to the wet ground in celebration of the first goal.

  14. If it is true, the club better do something about it. And something worthy of what was done. Or else I’ll also feel a lot of coldness towards the club.

    But then on one hand it’s like, how can I not love Pep and Messi and Iniesta and Puyol and Abidal and all the moments the team gave us and all that, because of a wrong that many of those (as in, people other than Busquets and management) who give us much happiness didn’t do? On the other hand, supporting Barca would mean condoning those too, if it were true, and I can’t do that.

    And it’s not like I can choose to only root for Pep and Messi and Puyol and co, and hope they win everything and root for them in every game, without also being rooting for the other sections of the club, so I don’t know. And thus, I hope this is either proven false, or serious action is taken if it is true, because otherwise I don’t know how I can really keep on really supporting the club.

    I won’t form an opinion on whether or not he did say it until the club or player makes a statement on it.

    I still find it weird that EE puts the accusation on their official site without mentioning any response by Marcelo or anything, but saying hired lip readers said so, by the way. If you HAVE a witness, and are making an accusation, not bringing out that witness is just strange. It’s like if you accuse someone of, say, theft and you have the salesgirl who saw the crime with you, but you present your case using the presence of fingerprints as your main evidence instead. Strange.

    And Kevin. We’ll miss you, but are you taking farewell from just writing for this blog, or visiting/commenting on this blog altogether? Do drop by at least so we know what’s up with you.

    1. Also, when you see subtitles and then look at something, more likely to see it so. Same for when you hear static and you can’t really hear a word in it, but someone says ‘it sounds like hello!’ and you listen to the static, it WILL sound like hello.

      Brains are wired that way. Example, listen to that clip of Stairway to Heaven backwards and see what you can make out of it. Nothing, really. Then read the alleged lyrics mentioned there and listen again, and you will hear those lyrics so clearly, cos you’re expecting to hear it.

      Just do and see. It’s the same when you listen to videos on Youtube where people put funny fake subtitles, it really seems to fit their mouth movements.

  15. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and just relax for a moment. There seem to be many people who are preaching “innocent until proven guilty.” Yet, everyone is already reacting as if it has been proved that he called Marcelo a mono. I speak Spanish pretty damn fluently, and as far as I can tell, that is not what Busquets said. Furthermore, I find it odd that Real Madrid nor Marcelo have said anything about the incident. In a time when Madrid is looking for anything they can use to demonize Barcelona, you would think that they would have mentioned something. Just my two cents.

    1. yes, I found it very very strange Marcelo didn’t make any comment…

      but it also strange Busi didn’t make any clarification…

      from Pep’s press conference, I assume Pep already asked to Busi about this, and he denied it…
      What else Pep should do if the player denied it?

      and how can we ever found out this story is true or not?

      IF this is a way for EE to demonize Barcelona, they had succeed it… again, IF…

  16. Man I am really sadden to read this, I thought from the title, it was something Pep said to wait for the final. I understand your doubts, Kxevin, I am a spanish native speaker (as my not-so-good written english proves) I just don’t see it, I thought he was hiding something, there is another word that he might have said (and it is also an insult) and that visually also fits, or maybe I am denying something so awful as a racial slur in something that I view as a “group of good persons, with good intentions, that happen to play awesome football”. I come from a country, that is beautiful and great, but also has a lot, a lot of racial prejudice, that even has direct influence in our current presidential elections, I can’t understand an insult like that, I don’t even want to, I just happen to think that this is the best Barça blog there is, and again, I speak spanish (so that means, unfortunately that I don’t have a blog in my native language that I appreciate more), and that you’re a great writer, I hope the club or someone gives you prove that something as disgusting as that kind of insult didn’t and couldn’t happen, I hope we can enjoy your writing in this blog again. Best wishes.

  17. I think it’s shameful to react before anything conclusive is said. For me the club comes FIRST and you stick through thick and thin. Without any confirmation if you choose to react then I have no respect for it.

    Kevin you have been a beacon of light for not just BFBers or cules but all fans of the game. I feel for you and will deeply miss your writng.

    But at the end of the day I’d take the club over any player, fan or even a president. And I feel that anyone who puts anything above the club was never really a cule anyway. Busquets should be punished IF found guilty of not disrespecting the colours he represented on the field. Not before a proper investigation. You might as well start the inquisitions again.

  18. It seems that there is no clear way to find out if Busquets actually said anything racist. I think that if Busquets really had called Marcelo a mono, Marcelo would have made some sort of statement.

    What is truly unfortunate is that regardless of whether Busquets said anything racist, there will always be that doubt. Like Kxevin mentioned, it’s the doubt that’s the killer, and even if Busquets denies it, the doubt will remain. I hate that the Madrid media was able to get everyone talking about red cards, alleged racist insults, and conspiracies. No one is talking about Barcelona’s brilliant football.

  19. Kevin life is all about decisions. You become who you are from the choices you make. Don’t make the wrong choice of quitting. Throwing in the towel is the same as not doing anything about the racism in football. Unfortunately, as much as I regret it from the bottom of my heart, racism is out there, and it’s huge in soccer. Probably bigger than any other sport. At times when entire stadiums chant racist slurs you even feel outnumbered. Listen to Bassam, start an online revolution. Speak up. Do what Henry and others did. Don’t give up.

    After all you haven’t just created a popular blog and a large community here, this is an army. Army against racism.

  20. 1. On our goal: Next time we get sucked into one of those “Is Valdes crap?” arguments, let’s not forget his role in this goal. He deserves credit for his perfectly weighted ball that started the break. Let’s see Casillas do that.
    The value of having a keeper with such good feet and decision making is immense for us, because we are susceptible to be pressed high up the pitch like Madrid were trying when we scored. Instead, of kicking it deep and probably turning over the ball (like most goalies would), Valdes puts Alves away on a fast break that two passes later leads to a goal.

    2. I read this on a different site, but isn’t it more likely that Busquets said “mano” because he was claiming that Marcelo just hit him in the face with his hand? Also, if you watch the whole video, Busquets has been holding his face on and off for 15 seconds. So it’s not like he just puts his hand there to cover up his mouth.

  21. “Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.” – Malcolm X

    We cannot read a man’s mind or heart, we do not know if Busquets is a racist or hates anyone different, but I do know that his job and his agenda on that field = piss off Marcelo [no I do not agree with it either but I can’t deny it]. Did Marcelo say something worse to him that is not on video? Did he even say it? Is it justified one way or another? No, but I accept that our boys are not saints, I’m not a saint, not footballer in this world is either, so why should I expect anyone else to be?

    Kevin, I do not judge your decision because I am not you nor am I in your shoes, I do however ask you to reconsider, you are a valued member of the Cule world / this blog, you cool heads when heads need to be cooled. As the club gets more and more into heaps of this sort, I’d say we need some guidance. I for one would appreciate your staying. Thank you.

  22. Kxev,

    If you truly do not want to review in future, all power to you. As a white Australian, I cannot and will not even begin to attempt to understand what you may or may not feel regarding Busi’s supposed remark, but I do know that as ‘un sang blaurana’ living in Oz, there are few sources that we can get pure, insightful, unbiased and intelligent reviews on games, events and general news on our beloved club. You are one of those few sources.

    This sounds like a sappy post, and it probably is, but honestly without you, this blog will lack something. Luke, Isaiah, Soma, and all the rest of the crew are fantastic and we all love what you do, but theres almost a giddy excitement when you see that oddly placed x in your name or the little Thuram pic next to a post. We all know that what follows is pure culè.

    Like I said, if you choose not to post, whether it be because of Serg’s supposed stupidity, or people whinging about your ratings, or people saying you hate xxx or favour xxx, or the politics in the club or whatever, we know that you are so damn blue and so damn red, if we cut you open, you’d probably have Puyi’s hair instead of blood. I hope you reconsider, but I know that the other guys will keep this place rockin.


    1. “we know that you are so damn blue and so damn red, if we cut you open, you’d probably have Puyi’s hair instead of blood.”

      EPIC… 😀

  23. okay, before some fans start to accuse Pep is a racist, the players are racist, Rosell is a racist, the whole club is racist, and resign from loving this club, (because they don’t take any action about ‘unproven racist incident’), I beg you with all respect, please please remember this :

    – this is the same club which loved by Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Yaya, Abidal, Alves, etc we’re talking about…

    – Abidal after surgery :
    I didn’t know people love me that much”
    “people” refers to the whole FC Barcelona family… the board, staff, players, and fans…
    how could that sentence come out from a black player if the club is racist?

    and again, if neither Busquets or the club make a further statement about this, then we only has Pep’s word :
    “If proven guilty, we would very upset and take appropriate measures, but the players are honest”

    that’s all we’ve got right now…

    1. With the current mindset people have , its extremely easy to misinterpret anything and mix it with the things they most fear.
      For example :
      I didnt know people love me that much could mean that because he knows the racism around spain , he didn’t believe that people were able to love him.

    2. here, the new interview from Abidal :

      “I’ve seen that people like me a lot, I never lived something like this…
      my heart beat like a hell when I came on. I’m very happy to play at this club, that has the best fans in the world…”

      the message is clear, he never felt this much love from a club before, not even at Lyon… 🙂

    3. I know barcagirl_indo.This was merely an example.
      The point is that people , in this particular mood, draw their own definite conclusions easily , they add it up with each statement and situation that they might find controversial and they dont bother to doubt about.

    4. yes, I’m just sad some fans are starting to say our club is racist because we didn’t take any action against Busquets…

      how can you say our club is racist when a player like Abidal is loving this club so much? 🙁

  24. I’m firmly in the innocent until proven guilty camp. I’m a Punjabi girl who goes to a school largely populated by Chinese, so I’ve had to deal with my fare share of racism in the past.

    However, until someone can either confirm or deny that Busi said what everyone thinks he said, I’m not about to jump to conclusions.

  25. i support you kxevin and i just hope we have some answers soon about what happened there with mr busquets. and that it is not swept under the rug. and i can see why you have doubts and need time out.

    unfortunately i think a lot of sports fanatacism hinges on an idealization of certain personalities as the ‘good’ — we rally behind someone as a sportsperson when if we actually saw the human side of them we might be disgusted…. and we hope that wont be the case often — but sometimes the illusion is burst, it can happen in a moment…

    i used to be a wade boggs fan when i was like ten years old…

  26. you are a very skilled writer and for two years now, ive just been lurking here -well,commenting once in a while- but goes here to get my daily footy fix becoz of people like you who writes passionately about the beautiful game… it makes the enjoyment of the game even better. you have a gift and people delight in reading your views and analysis about the various aspects of the game, and im one of ’em.
    i believe that joy will not be complete unless it it shared, and i thank you for sharing that joy.

    i will not pretend that i know what you’re feelin since i guess we’re experiencing different brands of racism wherever we are. it’s painful and im sorry you’re feelin that pain now. ive had a similar pain several days ago, and man it lingers. anyway,if doin what you’ve been doin (writing here) no longer gives you joy, then stop. but if still does, i do hope you will overcome this and come back again. i know its not easy, but hope there would be room for forgiveness.
    you’ll be missed sir.

  27. Kxevin , I know that the decision is ultimately yours and being influenced by the commenters wanting you to stay and keep this up is just wishful thinking.
    However remember the reasons you are writing these reviews.
    You are having a lot of people sitting down and reading long articles about a football match they most likely watched the day before , so its safe to say that if you are disenchanted with something , you can influence them in the right way by condemning these incidents in these reports.
    The chance of changing a situation is always zero if you just walk away . The people that care much should not give up.

  28. Dear Kxvin,

    I hope you will allow me to say one or two things to show you how much we all appreciate your work:

    For me one of the success stories of the Internet is to allow people from all over the world who share the same passion to engage and enjoy this passion together, furthermore so if they can not do so in their private environment because nobody else does share this passion there. I was always some kind of freak in my friend circle because nobody could even understand this football/Barcelona love, Can you imagine the joy I felt to discover a place, even a virtual one, where I could live this passions withoud regarded as some kind of freak, to discuss with you Henry-Ibra-Villa moments and tactical questions with Euler and enjoy the blitzen awards.

    You got me addicted and today this blog is the first side on my favourite liste, I go there every day in hope to see a new post and share some jokes and talking points with others.

    So I really hope that come the new saison the pull will be too strong for you to resist and come back too share your views with us and engage in all kind of discussion and banter, because this place is now for a lot of people not only about Barca but so much more.

    yours sincerly

    Humphrey Bogart

  29. Yeah and enough with the nicknames.
    Kxevin , its an honor to read your reviews and your comments. Along with the other writers ofcourse, kari , isaiah soccermom whom articles I sometimes find difficult to comprehend and euler’s whose tactical awareness strikes me of a person having actually managed a football club.
    I hope to read more of your reviews in the future
    Panagiotis Marakis ,CS student.

  30. Why can’t either marcelo or Busi come out and say about the incident.This situation is so worsening and their silence is fueling them.These allegations hurt me even more than being called a team of divers.I’m not a Spanish or Catalan speaker so I cannot make anything out of the video.And I believe that Busi is innocent until proven.But SoccerMom’s thread above is making me lose my confidence.
    I don’t want the club to take the issue lightly and if busi is proven guilty,then they have to take serious action.This issue is bring a bad taste to my mouth after a thrilling victory.
    I’ve just signed in here recently but have been following the blog for about 8-9 months.I’ve always admired the work done here and it is sad that a member is bidding goodbye.

    1. with both Marcelo and Busi are still in silence…
      the question will be, how to prove he’s guilty?
      some say it’s ‘mono’, some say it doesn’t look like ‘mono’ at all…

      if Pep already asked him about this and Busi denied it,
      should we blame Pep and the club for not taking any action?

    2. Then,only Marcelo have to come out and reveal what actually happened at that moment.
      And already our club is hated for many reasons and they(haters) will be happy that they’ve got another reason to hate.And these racial abuse rumours are making them happy.I don’t know about Pep but I would probably blame the club for not taking action against Busi because we have black memebrs in our team and it would be insulting to them.

    3. Marcelo will never say a thing.
      Madrid chose to run with this allegation as part of their plan to discredit us. Marcelo wouldn’t now dare to say anything to the contrary or else it discredits the club that pays him. So to me that fact that Marcelo isn’t confirming speaks more loudly that the fact that he’s not denying because he can’t deny, but he could have easily confirmed.

      Besides, as SoMa said:
      I would be very suprised at an official complaint, no matter how justified, from Marcelo himself or, more likely, Real Madrid’s behalf, simply because I would imagine that a lot of stuff gets said on a field that no one wants anyone else to know about. (emphasis mine)
      They may be paid a lot of money, and should be held to standards, but they’re human. Look elsewhere for your role models, guys. I bet there’s not a single team in any sport where this doesn’t happen. So leaving Barca for another team only delays your disappointment. And dare I say that I would be surprised if it’s only a white on black thing. Insults are a result of human small mindedness, not just white human small mindedness.

    4. Please note that the above was not to condone racist behavior, but to say
      1) Marcelo cannot deny the allegations because it would make his club look bad
      2) athletes in general should be amongst your last choice for role models

  31. Busquets is not a racist – end of. It’s EE propaganda & that’s all. Real Madrid TV have conjured up the footage & then EE accuse UEFA of doing nothing despite not even reporting it themselves. So ballcocks to EE & their patheticness.

  32. First off what a game. Really enjoyable and even fun. P!! can not stop scoring in Semi-finals can he?

    Rascism is the most horrible vile and disgusting thing in this world IMO. And Busi is a moron and a closed minded nitwit if he did call Marcelo a monkey. But if he did does it automatically mean he is a rasicst. I mean he gets along with Keita and Abi well enough. Not defending him of course but I would not jump to conclusions. And Kevin pleaseeeeee stay?

    Wembley here we comeeeeeee!!!

  33. Kxev, your decision mate. It was good having you around.

    As for the racism row, till now its noway certain what Busi said. Pep’s comments were taken out of context by Sid Lowe.

    I think it is a fascinatingly vile thing that Mou has done to EE. He has made the club a laughing stock of most of world. I hope to god that we do not get any manager like him, ever.

  34. @kxevin,

    thats not the way to eradicate racism.

    a single entity is not important to eradicate it,but a single opinion or a ideology spread by a single entity can have a major impact on human mindset.and as BASSAM said if u can change even a single mindset then u have done a wonderful job.

    but if u left this,then people will mourn for a sometimes,ultimately someone will fill the place you vacated and in the end the legacy of kxevin will die,cause whatever happens life goes on.

    May be it is not the proper time but this question is killin me since the OBL killing,


    “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere”.

    apologies to all for asking this.
    and kxevin think of the decision

  35. I understand you Kxevin(being a muslim i understand).

    but your decision to leave should deserve another post,not in this post feels a sour taste in this great victory.

    i do not agree with you all the time but i cant but wait for your posts.

    if busi made racial slur,he should be punished in an exemplary way by barca,but if anybody calls him out for diving and said that he should be excluded from the squad for this then i say to those are you perfectly fair in your own world?just like us he is not perfect,heck even messi and iniesta dived sometimes(its true),not in every games but once in a 10000000 games.

    not that i complain about his diving but some of the cules are wayyyy over their heads bout this IMHO

  36. Kevin, you deserve to go out on a high..

    But I don’t think Busi deserves to be treated this way on the basis of hearsay. Not that I want to belittle racism. But wrongfully accusing someone of racism is as wrong as propagating it. If Busi said anything, he should be gone after properly, internally. Not through tabloids etc.

    Pep believes in his players and so do I. I believe Busi is innocent. Shoot me!

  37. Kevin, only the club will know what really happened. They wouldn’t deal with it publicly to protect the club. If you decide to go this way, nothing is really going to change. I like Bassam’s proposal of starting a movement against racism, and I’m sure everyone will be happy to contribute to that.

    Okay, shoot me but I think that racial slur – I’m not making any excuses/defense on Busi – wasn’t intended to racially discriminate but to p*iss off Marcelo. Only him. Okay of course it did, but I couldn’t think of a worse way to get someone’s attention and direct an insult to him. As a Barça player Busi should know all too well how serious this matter is to his teammates, even to the non-black Spanish internationals. Xavi has often pointed it out.

    The doubt will remain there, Kevin, I’m sure. But I don’t know how this blog’s usual spirit will if you stop posting. I know that the problem doesn’t lie only on what he said, but that he actually had it in him to say it to begin with. But if you love Barça that much, won’t you trust that he can change? That the club are trying to take action to avoid it next time and to protect the whole association, including us fans? That’s why I don’t have it in me to feel entirely as bad as I thought I would be.

    Because this club has given me so much joy, I could never be sad about anything it does.

  38. The fact that Marcelo doesn’t respond aggressively, if in fact Busquets called him a racist name, is interesting. Not only doesn’t Marcelo respond but neither does Pepe or Ramos who cross Busquets while he is yelling out and could have overheard him.
    Also, Busquets holding his hand up to his mouth doesn’t look like he is trying to cover his mouth, it actually appears to be quite the opposite. It looks like Busquets is shouting something that he wants heard. Futbol players are expert at hiding what they are saying by either bending down (fixing their socks) and speaking towards the ground when planning tactics on a set play or by getting very close to the person they want to say something to and placing their hand right over your mouth. Busquets does neither of those.
    I hope that Busquets clarifies what was said. Maybe they’re not even that aware that people are debating this issue and have doubt. Barca doesn’t normally like to give credence to all of Madrid’s accusations and maybe Pep’s statement that his players don’t act like that, is all we will get.

  39. Really sorry to hear this Kxevin, and thank you for all the work you’ve done on the blog.

    If Busquets is proven guilty, then I want to see disciplinary action. I don’t want someone who talks like that on our team. The thing is, how can we expect the club to act when A. the only evidence is the video, which is not conclusive and B. Busquets denies it. The video alone isn’t enough to prove that he said it, and the club has no reason to doubt the player. I don’t think it would be right for severe disciplinary action to be taken unless Busquets admits his guilt, Marcelo says something or new evidence comes out. The club couldn’t and shouldn’t severely punish a player or ruin his career by throwing him off the team based on that video alone.

    All that said, the Clasicos have really exposed Busquets as lacking a lot of the qualities that I think a Barcelona player or any decent footballer should have. The diving, the petulance, the dishonesty. It does not belong in our game. And now the possible racist insult, worse than anything else that he’s done, to top it all. What’s so sad about it is that he could be extraordinary. He is an incredible player for us, and it’s being ruined by his immaturity and lack of character.

  40. If it did indeed happen I don’t really blame Marcelo for not speaking out. Rightly or wrongly (in my opinion wrongly), it seems that the culture in La Liga is to not speak out about incidents of racism.

    We heard this from Alves after the Espanyol match when he was subjected to monkey chants. I can’t remember his exact comment but it was something on the lines of: it happened and it is not good, but it’s just best not to focus on it.

    Sadly, I’m sure both Alves and Marcelo take enough racist abuse that they have lots of experience at ignoring it. It’s awful and won’t change until the authorities and clubs get serious about stamping it out.

  41. Kxevin… thanks for telling us how you feel. It’s making me alter my stance on Busquets.

    Gamesmanship is something I never believed a professional club like FCB to be above. Més que un Club? I didn’t ever really believe it. But I didn’t ask it for it to be. It didn’t NEED to be more than a sports institution for me. Even as yet another cynical money-making enterprise, it gave me an ongoing legacy of gladiators to champion myself and whoever else chose to swear allegiance to it and every week give me the exultation of seeing them battle for us all on the pitch. Something to look forward to, every week. Something to care about. But I never wanted to hold high standards for FCB. People betray your trust. Why shouldn’t a sports team, if you expect it to do anything but win? I didn’t want that. So I didn’t expect anything else of FCB except to try to win. If they tried to win pretty, so be it.

    I’m going to keep writing this in a separate comment to get my head/heart straight.

    1. (edit: if they tried to win pretty: so much the better)

      With that position in mind the thought of Busquets using racial slurs to throw Marcelo off his game didn’t really phase me that much. Probably because it has been up to this point an allegation. He’s already flopped, dived, conned the ref. Verbal abuse seems like yet another tactic. He’s one of our dirtier players. Up to this point, I considered Dani Alves the most menacing of our starters; he is a cheating dirty monster, but OUR cheating dirty monster, and I love him for it. Busquets was loathsome in a different way but I was glad to have him around anyway, now I’m not so sure. I wanted some villains in the team I cheered for as well as some heroes. A team full of people like Messi might have been too wholesome for me to stomach. Or I would’ve fallen head-over-heels in love. I’m not sure.

      I am a citizen of the USA. I love this country. But I am not white. I have been discriminated against. I know what it feels like to live your whole life feeling on some level foreign, unwelcome, and unwanted by your own people. Until adulthood I have never been able to cheer for my own country (Barack Obama’s election to the presidency helped, but it was also understanding how bad racism is elsewhere, and growing out of teenage angst). Every day I’m reminded in my daily life, one way or another, subconsciously or consciously, that I’m yellow. It’s something white US citizens have trouble understanding.

      As someone of Chinese descent the idea of a player on my team hurling racial abuse didn’t throw me off that much. But I’m of Chinese descent. I’m not black. Yes Asian-Americans are statistically (don’t have the study on hand but perhaps I should find it) considered more alien and less ‘American’ than either blacks or light-skinned Hispanic-Americans. I won’t deny our lot has some real downsides. But the people I am descended from were never treated as property. There is no legacy of slavery I must endure by virtue of my appearance. While I resent that whites may make jokes and assume things about me such as having a small penis (I definitely don’t) and that I’m a bad driver (I may be, I have fast reaction speed but my focus isn’t the best and that’s not good on trying to navigate country roads) and that I’m good at math (I am), these aren’t really so bad. Not really. My black friends have to deal with white friends assuming that they are LESS INTELLIGENT by virtue of their skin and facial features. I still can’t wrap my head around that to this day. Not really.

      to be continued…

    2. (edit: I should have said that I’ve already fallen head-over-heels in love with this team. But only as a sports team dedicated to winning. If everyone had Messi’s behavior, I might have fallen in love with it as something symbolic of good sportsmanship as well)

      So with what I’ve already said, Kxevin, I can’t fault you for not wanting to write a review for the rest of the season. Or write a review, ever. Or leave the blog. Or stop supporting FCB. I can’t. Not knowing what I know about racial discrimination. Both on my end and through the experiences of my friends. I’m sad to have you go. Really, actively, sad. I honestly think you should leave if it will give you some respite. But I think what Bassam and others say has merit. You have power with words. You’ve changed my stance on Busquets. Before, I apologized about him to fans of other teams and cheered when he got fouled, but as much as I disliked gamesmanship I was still in his corner, as a jugador of the blue and red. Now I am ashamed of him to my fellow culés. I am sorry to have him wear the colors. Do I honestly think he’s more racist than Xavi, Puyol, Piqué, or Valdés? No. I really don’t, no matter what he did or didn’t say. But I know what he’s willing to do if Guardiola wants him to demoralize the opposition. And it sickens me that others like Kxevin are hurt as they do.

      Kxevin, when you are done healing, I think returning to writing in a public form can help spread awareness of racism. But that’s something you should do for you. Not for any of us. I’d be thrilled to have you back. Over the months I have become emotionally attached to your writings. You leaving hurts me. But not as much as you hurting does. For my own selfish sake, I hope you come back. But moreso than that, I hope whatever that happens that you come to terms with the pain you feel that I can only try to imagine.

    3. secondary edit: I spelled it ‘phase’ instead of ‘faze’. My bad. I should probably stop trying to edit these and just move on with my morning. But this all doesn’t weigh lightly on me.

    4. Yeah, Busquets kinda always struck me as our Mark van Bommel/Gary Neville type of guy, in terms of using tricks or being dirty- protesting, diving, exaggerating, etc- to win.

      That said, racist comments are a whole different matter. I still personally don’t believe he said those. Namely because if it did happen, and EE had that ‘witness’ if it was true, its just fishy that they’d make the accusation based solely on ‘hired lip readers’ without even mentioning ANY response or input by Marcelo himself. That’s just bizarre. And fishy.

      Innocent until proven guilty on this matter still, for me.

  42. I love goals.

    But I’m kinda weird about the way I like goals.

    Because my favorite part of the goal is the celebration. Look around at other teams and leagues and the celebrations aren’t like ours. In the EPL they are more subdued. Even at the WC, Villa’s were more more individual, with a flourish toward the crowd. Ibra’s goals never thrilled me so much because of the way he would run away from his teammates and get that all about me air about him. To some extent, Titi did this as well. It’s worth noting that by and large the only person on our team who may merit individualistic goal celebrations, our brilliant flea, prefers to celebrate a goal with his teammates.

    The giant pile of humanity celebrating a goal is the image I have of Barca. The white, black, Latino, Christian, Muslim pile of humantiy (I must admit that a secondary thought is-ew, these guys are dripping in sweat, hope they use a good deoderant) celebrating together and getting along quite nicely thank you.

    Last thing I will say about this.
    Don’t expect to find your role models in sport. It’s entertaintment. Look to your religions for role models, maybe (big maybe) your politicians, philosophers, educators, or philanthropists. But not athletes. It doesn’t mean you have to go along with anything heinous from your team, it just means that the grass is probably not greener anywhere else (thus limiting your choices to the team of lesser evil or the knitting channel).

    I’m off to watch several days of English period drama. A football holiday. Nothing like Mr. Darcy to get your mind off of things.

    1. Kxevin, do what you need to do. Definately take a sanity break if needed to clear your head and your heart. But the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Come back fighting.

  43. @Kxevin.
    Long time lurker. First time poster.
    Many things happen on the football field. We say things which are totally abusive but there is an unwritten rule that you never take things off the field. Let us assume that Biscuit said that. Is it reflective of what he thinks about colored people? Does he really feel any sort of disdain or disgust towards them because of their colour? We will never know really and the only people who know are his team mates and if they dont have a problem then we shouldnt have one. I think we should not judge people by what they say on some random ocassion. We judge celebrities not as human beings but as some icons who are never wrong. This is over simplification and is never true. My take is until we come to know that Biscuit has a history of these kinds of things we should not judge him. Prejudice == lack of education(the real one). No one’s prejudice should be the cause of your sorrow.

    BTW Ricky is a proper harchet man isnt he? No wonder the Slimy One really loves him.

  44. Two things, and then I will go off and work on some blitzen awards, because someone has to, even though I am sick and grumpy:

    –I hope everyone here talking about the importance of fighting racism puts their money where their mouth is. My first human interaction of the day was dealing with some racist asshat on the subway (and oh, yes, I dealt with him. I can be quite scary in real life too, especially when I am sick and grumpy.). I’m white, btw, in case that’s relevant. Dude thought I was going to be the typical polite Canadian and ignore him. Dude knows better now. 😛

    –and Kxevin, if the sight of 90,000+ fans at the Camp Nou howling their love for Abidal doesn’t help you heal, then I don’t know what will. Come back soon.

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