It was just a blip – Real and Barca’s dominance returns

by Kobina Monney

Monday, September 26th, 2011

As I write this Messi has glided past three defenders to add his name to the score-sheet against Athletico Madrid. It’s the 26th minute and Athletico are already 3-0 down at the Camp Nou.

It’s a little embarrassing and not in the sense that Barcelona are romping home to another victory. That’s to be expected. It’s embarrassing in the sense that it’s come so soon after Real Madrid had fought back from a goal down (registered in just 14 seconds) to win 6-2. Just when reporters claimed Spanish football was in crisis both teams slipped up. Any hint of these two titans tripping up was an illusion, an act of misdirection that invited doubt and inspired confidence. It was a ruse and now we’re resuming normal service.

Real and Barca are remarkable footballing sides and there’s only so much that can be done to halt them without resorting to capital punishment. Perhaps Victor Valdes can wind back the clock and make mistakes more often?

Financially they’re on a different level and that’s down to their TV deals, they’re sponsorship and their profile. Some teams in La Liga cannot even afford to pay their players their weekly wages. This gulf in sporting terms may never be rectified, regardless of the arrival of some rich Arabs or Russian oligarchs. If a rich oil baron were to inject some precious fuel into a club would Real and Barcelona stop being the kind of club they’ve always been? Would it dramatically change the allure Real and Barcelona have built for over fifty years? I don’t think so.

And now Fabregas has hit the bar from thirty yards.

It’s a procession, my brother texted me to say that if he stopped watching this match nothing would change. On the one hand we’re witnessing a terrific footballing side; on the other we’re witnessing a league that has given up caring or doesn’t have an answer to Barca’s luxurious style and Real’s intimidating force.

You can argue it’s a cycle, that Barca’s/Real’s dominance will eventually end but we’re talking about cycle that’s been occurring for the last fifteen years. Only Valencia, Sevilla and Deportivo La Coruna have managed to make a dent in these relentless sporting machines. The latter’s relegated and the former is punching above its weight, mired in debt and selling its best players on a yearly basis. They haven’t been able to keep the consistency required to challenge the top two year in, year out.

The commentator just indicated that Barca “don’t waste a lot of energy” and that worries me. It’s like they’re barely even trying or perhaps they’re sending telepathic waves to each other, imperceptible to the human eye and simply unstoppable.

We’re in the 82nd minute and Messi has dribbled past two to slot home. How good would a team need to be to beat Barcelona and Real Madrid? Let’s put it this way, I don’t think such a team exists on this planet.

It’s 5-0 now. Messi hat-trick. Game over?

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  • Mystical Mike

    La Liga is in a worse state than the Scottish Premier League.

    The whole structure of world football has to change.

    The German is by far the most exciting league with different winners almost every season. That’s what we need!

  • Kobina Monney

    Wouldn’t disagree too much with that, right now, as much as I find football entertaining, it favours the rich clubs too much. I’m hoping Napoli can make a bigger impression in Serie A this year to stop the Milanese domination.

  • Mystical Mike

    I think we are heading towards some kind of shake up in the game. Especially now the Russians have got involved in their homeland.

    What’s next? A team in the middle east signs all the best players and pays them a million a week, it may sound stupid but I don’t think we are far of that

  • Matt Quinn

    Do people actually honestly agree with this or has everyone just been fed the usual Sky crap about the EPL being the best in the world???

    Just because the Premier league has 3, instead of 2 title contenders doesnt make it more entertaining for the rest of us. When United stuffed Arsenal 8-2 the other week everyone was carping on about how wonderful the game was… not the worrying gulf between the top 3 and the rest.

    Since Blackburn won the EPL in 1995, the EPL has had 3 different winners. La Liga has had 4 different winners, including Valencia who won it twice.

    The stats continue. The number of different teams to have qualified for the champions league from the EPL over the last 10 years reads the Big 4, Man City (this season only), Everton and Tottenham (with Everton losing in qualifying to Villarreal – of SPAIN!!)

    In the same period, La Liga has seen the Big 2, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Deportivo La Coruna, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Celta Vigo.

    Clearly these stats suggest that La Liga is actually more competitive than the EPL.

    Also, after watching Barcelona destroy Man United and Arsenal last season along with Madrid destroying Spurs, do you really not just think that these 2 teams are by far the strongest in the world… which does not make the rest of the Spanish league weak.

    I agree that the financing behind Barca and Madrid needs to be addressed but to dismiss the rest of La Liga as weak and uncompetitive is both ill-judged and wrong.

  • Kobina Monney

    I never said or suggested that the EPL was the best league in the world or that La Liga was uncompetitive in comparison. In fact the EPL is as uncompetitive as many other leagues in Europe, having three or four challengers is perhaps the minimum we can ask for in this current age. A quick history check shows that the Primeira Liga (Portugal) has only seen four different winners since 1946.

    And I agree that La Liga teams are more than a match for EPL teams ( i’d say that if you put the twenty teams of La Liga against the EPL, La Liga would triumph more times than not).

    However looking at La Liga, and only La Liga, do you see any other possible winners of La Liga unless there is a drastic loss of form by the big two? Athelti have been erratic, Villareal and Valencia have been plucky but the former couldn’t juggle domestic and european football and latter has crippling debts. Real and Barca are the strongest teams in the world by far, the rest of La Liga may not be “weak” but they certainly can’t compete with Real & Barca and that’s not good for the future of Spanish football.

  • Mystical Mike

    @ Matt, I think you’ll find Arsenal beat Barca in the first leg. a narrow 4-3 victory with a contenious sending off is hardly destroying!

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