“I’m not the man I once was.” Once a man gets to a certain age, this universal truth stomps the terra like a mastodon, banging a gong marked “Truth.” Second to second, minute to minute, the brutality of the passage of time and its effects on performance are part of life. Athletes are particularly aware… Continue reading Busquets, hopes, dreams and affirmation
The late, great Nina Simone, when asked what freedom meant to her, had a simple answer: “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear.” And for the first and probably last time that the iconic singer’s words have a football parallel, it’s impossible not to have those thoughts come to mind in the… Continue reading Barça 3, Levante 0, aka “Freedom means no fear”
From 1991 to 1998, the Chicago Bulls won six championships, in two blocks of three, a span interrupted by the time that Michael Jordan was away from the team. Jordan left the Bulls after that last championship in 1998, and the Bulls have been varying degrees of janky ever since. Last season, Lionel Messi produced… Continue reading Without Messi, what is there?
Back when everyone was raving about Quique Setien after his Betis side got a result against Barça, I had a TV show appearance in which that question came up. My answer was, “I don’t want him anywhere near the Camp Nou, because his teams still make the same mistakes, even after all of his time… Continue reading The problem with Koeman
Here is what a new manager at FC Barcelona will have to look forward to: –A brilliant collection of young talent, all nurtured in a hothouse that pretty much ignores modern football–A nucleus in the person of four captains, all of who are past it and psychologically about as strong as a house of cards–Placing… Continue reading When Koeman goes …
Nothing about the FC Barcelona experience is like a modern club. As grim reailty goes, that is a good place to start. The Camp Nou is, like the team, a construction zone. It’s in too many parts dusty, gray and musty, redolent with a scent that only a romantic would consider history. It’s just old.… Continue reading Barça 0, Bayern Munich 3, aka “There’s hope, but …”
Bayern has a tendency to pop up at seismic times for FC Barcelona. One style of play has reached its end of life? There’s Bayern. The most powerful front three in the game need a showcase? There’s Bayern. A team is reeling from a managerial change and is a psychological mess? There’s Bayern. And now,… Continue reading Barça v Bayern, aka “Not again!”
Imagine if, during election campaign season, Laporta said, “The summer is going to be a salary dump. I will probably have to move Messi on, and a bunch of other players. Bear with me, though, as we get through all of this together.” He still would probably have won, but eyes would have been open.… Continue reading Barça’s transfer window, aka ‘Boulevard of broken dreams’
Emerson Royal, delighted to be a player for FC Barcelona, complete with presentation and giddy signing ceremony, was shipped off to Tottenham in the next-to-last day of the transfer window. His career at his dream club lasted some training sessions, two matches and most of a transfer window. Clubs demand loyalty and set themselves up… Continue reading Ain’t no love when it comes to money. It’s just … money
The thing about new begnnings is the complexity of what was known, what is known and what was hidden. It goes without saying that Messi made a lot of people look better than they are. So players like Antoine Griezmann, who had the crutch of “Well, my best position is where that wee Argentine is,”… Continue reading Two Barça matches and what have we learned?
It seems almost weird to have football beginning at a time such as this, when the club that we follow (those who haven’t become PSG supporters overnight) is reeling from a succession of body blows. Yet a new season begins for FC Barcelona this weekend with La Real, not exactly the opponent that a team… Continue reading New season, new beginnings, aka “Barça dominoes”
For a club that has been a complete and utter shitshow for too long, there was no other way for its greatest player to leave — reluctantly at a teary solo presser. For a club that has been a complete and utter shitshow for too long, that it loses its greatest player to its bitterest… Continue reading It’s official. Messi is gone. Now is our chance to be like Messi and move on.