Monday, May 09, 2005

Forca Barca

Not that most of you care, but F.C. Barcelona virtually clinched the Spanish Primera title this weekend with a 2-0 victory down the coast in Valencia. Barca now need to win only one of their final three matches to win the league for the first time since 1999 and the Valencia match was their hardest remaining tie.

Ronaldinho, the reigning world player of the year and a guy with so much talent (and bizarre hair) that he could make 'necks in Moultrie like soccer for a fleeting moment, scored another highlight reel goal to lead Barca to silverware. The fact that Ronaldinho has been the talisman for Barca for the past two seasons is one of the delicious ironies that sports hands us because he was Barca's second choice in the summer of 2003. Barca originally agreed with Manchester United on a fee for David Beckham, only to be snubbed by Beckham, who wanted to play for Real Madrid because he was more likely to win trophies with them. Barca then decided to sign Ronaldinho, a talented playmaker with a reputation for loving the nightlife, from Paris Saint Germain. Real Madrid President Florentino Perez famously derided the Ronaldinho signing:

"How ugly is Ronaldinho?! There was no point buying him, it wasn't worth it. He’s so ugly that he’d sink you as a brand. Between Ronaldinho and Beckham, I’d go for Beckham a hundred times. Just look how handsome Beckham is, the class he has, the image. The whole of Asia has fallen in love with us because of Beckham. Ronaldinho is too ugly."

Perez has since watched Barca finish ahead of Real in the league for two straight years, including winning a league title that has evaded Real, while Beckham has looked completely lost in Spain because he has to play in the center rather than staying out on the right wing as he preferred in Manchester. On the bright side for Florentino, Dick's Sporting Goods at Lenox is selling Beckham/Real t-shirts, which I got to flip a bird to this weekend whilst buying running shoes. I hope that I hurt the shirts' feelings by referring to them as "fascistas."

An interesting side note: Barca is going to agree to a shirt-sponsoring deal for the first time, shilling for the Beijing Olympics, in order to increase their profile in Asia.

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