Thank you Barcelona.Some lessons for everyone!

by admin

Monday, May 30th, 2011
 

On 27th of April last, football enthusiasts from around the globe took to their sofas with unbridled enthusiasm for what was to be a gargantuan battle between two of the greatest club sides on earth.

It was Real Madrid V Barcelona-The first leg of a Champions league semi final to whet the appetite of even the most plastic of football supporters.

What the countless millions got in return for their attention was possibly one of the darkest exhibitions of football seen in many a year. Indeed, coupled with the debacle which was the World Cup final, the world of football was left to question the very fabric of its rules, its ethos, and in essence its own validity as a sporting event.
These two great sides engaged in ninety minutes of cheat and counter cheat, ugly spat after ugly spat marring a contest that should have gone down in history as one of the greatest.

Instead the watching masses will remember this clash for reasons altogether more sinister. Sadly, many may never watch again. And who could blame them?

It is difficult to pinpoint just why that night at the Santiago Bernabeu disintegrated so shamelessly. The competitive nature of two great teams? Historical antipathy? All out rivalry?

A common denominator in recent ugly spats of this kind would appear to be the presence of one Jose Mourinho. The Mourinho school of thought systematically targets intimidates and harasses officials and opponents alike, and to that end, it can scarcely be argued against the observation that he is “the enemy of football”.

Barcelona did not escape that evening without ignominy. Some of the histrionics of their players that night will be a stain on the clubs reputation for years to come. Yet there remains a sense that the Barcelona of that evening of April 27th, were merely meeting like with like. If there will be one thing that galls the Catalan club at the end of this momentous season, it will be that they sunk to Mourinho’s level.

Fast forward one month and one day. Pep Guardiola’s side took to the field aiming to clinch a third European Cup in six years.

What Guardiola’s side produced in those most mesmeric of ninety minutes was truly what our game should aspire to be- a group of multi-talented players, on the biggest stage against a great club-all performing to maximum capacity.

There is something unique about the way Barcelona conduct their business. The ethos which affords players the time, the patience, and eventually the opportunity to strike and perform at exactly the right moment is something that when examined closely, truly takes the breath away. It could be argued that watching a Barcelona attack in a Champions League final, is a microcosm of what lays at the foundations of an institution from grassroots upwards.

It is a philosophy that rates patience as a virtue, incision as an eventual result for patience, and success as the ultimate reward for an uncompromising belief.

There was something mildly disconcerting about seeing Sir Alex Ferguson sitting glumly in the dugout, resigned to defeat with twenty minutes to go in a major final. To Ferguson’s and United’s credit, they did not seek to employ the dark depths to which Mourinho so frequently plummets when confronted with superior opposition.

Ferguson, himself frequently a practitioner of the dark arts with match officials is- above all a football man.
His embrace of Guardiola at the death showed a certain appreciation of the greatness which Barca had just extolled.

For the sake of football, let us hope it is the ethos and values of these two unique coaches that carries forward. After all, succeeding and staying true to football’s finest virtues is what is truly special, not cheating!

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