Thursday, May 08, 2008

If you don't have anything Nice to Say...

Then don't write about F.C. Barcelona right now. I've been meaning to write a post about the Blaugrana after the loss to Manchester United last week, but there is precious little to say other than invective about a team that has plainly quit on its coach. Barca gave a relatively good account of themselves against United, especially in dominating the midfield play in the two ties, but their same old bugaboo popped up: lots of possession and very few chances because the team have only one way to play. There was no variation to Barca's game and thus, they never really created a great chance in 180 minutes of football. The defense held out reasonably well, in no small part because Yaya Toure played well, but it wasn't enough.

The "effort" that Barca showed yesterday at the Bernabeu was positively shocking. Regardless of whether they had anything to play for, professionals wearing the Barca strip should never, ever, ever put in such an uncommitted performance against their arch-rivals. Yesterday's result transformed my feelings about Rijkaard and the players from disappointment to abject anger. Now, I want blood. Previously, I was OK with a limited clean-out of Rijkaard, Ronaldinho, Deco, Edmilson, and assorted other spare parts. Now, the list is longer. If I never see Rafa Marquez in a Barca strip again, that will be fine. Sadly, Samuel Eto'o has always been one of my favorite Barca players, but after he (likely) intentionally got a yellow card on Sunday so he would miss the trip to Madrid, I'm angry at him, as well. I'm certainly fine with Le Grande Sulk's immediate departure. If Henry wants to play whatever position he deems best and wants to be closer to his daughter, then Newcastle is ready when you are. Enjoy the northeast of England, you overpaid wanker.

Now I'm all worked up. You see why I didn't want to write about Barca for weeks?

One other thought: Carles Puyol is my favorite Barca player and he has acquitted himself well even as the club has gone in the shitter. That said, a player who captains a squad that quits cannot avoid all of the recriminations. Puyol couldn't hold the dressing room together. I might be expecting too much of the Captain, but even he looks worse at the end of this disaster.



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