Friday, 6 September 2013

Why Are Barcelona Still So Hateable?

We all know Barcelona are annoying but recently they’ve been taking their previously world class game to legendary status.  They passed being merely annoying sometime under Rijkaard, moved into being a team you actively wanted to fail under Pep and haven’t shifted since.  If they had a face you’d have dreams about punching them in the balls.  But how precisely are they pulling this off?

They Signed Neymar
The New World’s Greatest Player signed up by the World’s Greatest Team.  Maybe he was just sick of people who really should know better (Pele) saying he was already better than Messi and wanted to stand on the same pitch as him to make it easier for people to realise that he really isn’t.  Among all the other perfectly valid reasons to hate Neymar (his haircut, that celebration dance he does, the fact he’s quite often great at football) is the fact he spends more time trying to win free kicks than any player in history.  He’s worse than seventeen year old Cristiano Ronaldo.  It’s less winning free kicks as a consequence of good play, more as the desired end result of it.  And then Barca end up not scoring from most of them anyway.  Be a different equation if he played for Stoke.

They Play Football The Right Way
No you don’t.  The team who put eleven men behind the ball do, because at least they realise that you occasionally have to change your team’s set up to match the situation.  And repeatedly passing the ball short is as monotonous as doing it long.  The only thing that separates the two is that you’ve shown short passes can be more successful.  Also putting Gerard Pique up front in the last ten minutes of games is an admission that you’ve given up on the very principles you so piously exhorted in the first place.  This is why people laughed when Bayern beat you.

They’re Sponsored By Qatar
When Barcelona broke with an almost hundred year tradition and allowed Unicef to sponsor them free of charge seasoned observers pointed out that this obviously a tactic to allow them to move into paid sponsorship with less controversy.  And now they’ve got the highest shirt sponsorship deal in the world and Qatar plastered all over their (supposedly still representative of the Catalan nation) shirts.  You can sell out or you can remain pious about not doing so.  Pick one.  Which brings us on to…

It’s More Than A Club
No it’s not.  Might have been once with the Catalan dialect only being allowed to be spoken in the stadium and the General Franco stuff.  But now?  It’s just a football club, one of the two biggest in a league that’s allowing them to get further away from the rest of the poor shmucks but just a club all the same.  You lost the right to say any different a long time ago.  Doesn’t stop them claiming that though does it?  Say what you like about Real Madrid, least they’re honest.

They Wasted Zlatan
They had Zlatan for a year and all they did with him was to win a forgettable title and end up royally pissing him off.  He behaved himself for a bit, scored some good goals then had enough of it all and started shouting at people again.  We can debate the merits of Pep Guardiola’s management all you want but if you can’t find room in your side for Zlatan then you’re a dick.

We Build Players, Madrid Buy Them
Bollocks.  Alves, Sanchis, Song, Mascherano, Neymar and that’s just in the current team.  And that’s without counting Messi who they took from another country when he was fourteen but counts as a signing all the same and the ones they’ve brought back after other clubs have given them first team experience like Alba, Pique and Fabregas.  Yes they’ve got a good youth system but still rely on signings as much as anyone does.  And most of the time they’re shit at it.  They once signed Giovanni for ten million pounds because he looked good on video.  No one at the club had ever met him.

Sergio Busquets
The most annoying of them all.  I’ve made an effort to not hate Busquets.  Has a real claim to being the world’s best holding midfielder for both club and country.  And he can reasonably say that he’s underrated by most.  But this is because he’s a knob.  And the times you notice him the most are when he’s demonstrating this God given talent.  That Motta tackle roll on the floor holding his face alone should leave you with a desire to slap him hard if you ever met him.  Yes there are other players who do it but no one to the level Busquets does.  I’ve been all the way from disliking him, then making the effort to appreciate the talents only a purist could love then gone right back to disliking him again.  It’s for the best.

All of Messi’s Goals
Messi’s never ending excellence past his second season has been if we’re truly honest with ourselves, pretty boring.  The standards he’s maintaining are impressive, the statistics unarguable but there’s just something about the whole thing that leaves you colder than it should.  I think it’s because for some reason once you’ve seen let’s say ten of Messi’s goals you’ve pretty much seen them all.  The one where he runs past two players before a near post finish, the chip over a slow moving onrushing keeper, the one two with Inesta then first time shot and so on.  They all seem the same.  Might be because he scores so many but the feeling’s there.  And also if more keepers stood up when one on one with him they’d have (slightly) more of a chance.

They Refuse to Sign Defenders
It’s beyond a joke now.  And Martino has already been affected by it, telling reporters before the transfer window ended that they didn’t need to bring anyone in.  Just in case it needs repeating; Mascherano is not a defender, Song is not a defender, shit if we’re getting technical neither is Danny Alves.  It’s become so obvious that it’s gone past the point of parody.  Having the transfer policy of an eleven year old playing his first game of football manager and then acting surprised when it doesn’t pay off is not the way a football club should behave.

They’re Sore Losers
When they turned the sprinklers on Mourinho’s Inter after they were knocked out of the Champions League they forfeited any slick suited attempt to represent the spirit of football.  Chelsea have more of a claim.  At least they just got a massive Ivorian to fight the referee.

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