Weekly Report: Messi makes up for Barca behaviour

by Luke Bradshaw

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

At least it was a piece of absolute quality that decided matters in the Spanish capital last night. Admittedly Pepe, the man shadowing Messi’s movement all night was no longer on the pitch (we’ll come back to that), but it was an outrageously good goal and one that that few, if any, are capable of.

The goal itself was a moment of brilliance in what was descending into farcical, embarrassing behaviour. Contesting every decison, berating each other, feigning injuries, and on and on….

There is no denying Barcelona’s ability; they can be held up as one of the best sides ever to have played the game, but for the third year in succession, very helpful refereeing has also gone their way. The lack of penalties awarded against them at Stamford Bridge in ’09, Thiago Motta’s sending off last year and now this.

The Motta incident was solely down to the cheating of Sergio Busquets, and he along with many others (from both teams) were at it again last night.  With Marcelo, Busquets, Di Maria and Pedro all clutching any available body part and finding the fastest way to hit the turf, with rolls and yelps thrown in, the game was incredibly frustrating. But the chieftain among this tribe of cheats was, as ever, Dani Alves.

A good player he may be, but he is one of the most hypocritical, cynical, petulant players in the game. Every decision against him brings about rolling those incredibly disturbing and somewhat seedy eyes, and every graze of an opposing player brings about apparent agony. He is a vile player.

I have reached the stage where as much as I love watching Barcelona, I can’t help feeling they’ve created this crazy double-sided persona whereby they hold a level of arrogance hand in hand with the role of victims. The arrogance clearly comes from the brand of football they play, and they are entitled to behave that way to some degree. The victim mentality comes from a history of their club living in the shadow of Real’s historic success, and Cataluña playing that same subordinate role to Spain. Unfortunately, it makes for a pretty unpleasant combination, and one that will probably continue.

The hounding of the referee by both teams was horrendous. But at least, like I mentioned at the top, we were reminded of what they are capable of when they leave the referee alone and play.

Man Utd’s path was somewhat easier. They virtually wrapped up their tie and managed to find Van der Sar’s replacement all in the space of time it takes Darron Gibson to launch, and then close, his twitter account. Incidentally, why do commentators say things like “now Gibson can hit them” and “this is Gibson range.” Safe to say he can’t and it’s not. For someone with a reputation as a great striker of the ball, I’d expect more than 12 goals from 130 professional appearances.

Favourite thing this week: Among the seriousness of last night, this elaborate prank is worth the watch. Talk about effort to get a laugh.

Follow me on twitter here, unless your Dani Alves x


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  • http://thebeautifulgameweekly.blogspot.com/ Ben McAleer

    Say Dani Alves did follow you on Twitter, what would you do?

  • Paul Connolly

    You’re right. I really do wish Barca didn’t cheat so much. Messi is as bad as the rest of them, unfortunately.

    As for Alves, he’s La Liga’s very own Robin van Persie, minus the sneaky thuggery.

  • billy

    I disagree, that’s one thing Messi has got going for him (apart from being the best player of the last 10 years) is he doesn’t play act like his team mates

  • Luke Bradshaw

    Messi is a cut above most of this Barca team, obviously as a player, but as a sportsman and man as well.

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