Friday, June 10, 2011

If There is a God Then Nou Camp is His Pinball Table

I’m no expert but football tournament finals are usually really good exciting games with two really good teams and deserving finalists playing it out to win the title. The exceptions are when the game features the current best national team or club team in the world, Spain and Barcelona respectively, as the last editions of three of the world’s most exciting tournaments, Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and the UEFA Champions League 2011 have had the grave misfortune of. Each of those three matches was more boring than a deep sea oil well. And just for my convenience, henceforth when I refer to one of the teams I shall mostly be referring to the other one as well.

This week’s contest - Find all the Barcelona fans in this picture and win hormone injections!

Which is actually okay because if you were to grit your teeth and ignore the fact that Torres plays for Spain in the position occupied by Messi at Barca then is it’s pretty much the same set of girls who play exactly the same style of football for both teams - kick off - possession - possession - possession – score somehow/pass the ball to Messi – possession – possession – full time. Although when I first saw them play I had loved their tip-tap-squeaky-clean game too but when keeping possession by hook or by crook seems to be the only strategy then, as effective as it is, it becomes boring and then proceeds to piss off the rest of the world. Think Hosni Mubarak or Prakash Karat or even uncooperative tenants and you know that feeling. Urban dictionary summarizes the above paragraph rather neatly.

Keeping possession by hook

Keeping possession by crook

It therefore surprises me that after all this time football pundits, players, and managers the world over still sing songs in praise of their style of football and the spirit of the game and other such highfalutin talk while any other manager or Mourinho who tries to press and defend hard to break FCB’s shackles and hold Messi is badmouthed and labeled as an advocate of ugly football. All this while Barca continues to remain more than a club and Spain, La Roja. Here are two teams that keeps moving the ball around and keep moving the ball around and keep moving the ball around until they’ve drawn all the constellations on the pitch after which they move on to generating data for Brownian motion studies. Pretty much every time an opposing player comes to challenge they pass the ball back, often to their defense and sometimes even all the way back to their ‘keeper. That pattern is, of course, intermittently broken when the ball lands at Messi’s feet who has some space and:
1. Out of boredom decides to take a shot at goal
2. Is fouled in which case the whole team and half the bench will surround the ref and flash their UNICEFed chests at him mentally forcing him to condemn an act of violence against an innocent little boy by showing a card

As much as they annoy me I have to admit though that it was very noble to have UNICEF on their jerseys in these times of commercialization but now they’ve sold out too. If revenue was so important then FCB could offer ground-writing options and pass the ball around in alphabet patterns during the game for endorsements. The reserve team could then come onto the pitch at half time and trace out “I love you, Carmen.” or “Will you marry me, Francesco?” as per requests and that would be their good deed for the day. In fact, if they pass the ball a little quicker allowing retention of vision to set it then they could even attempt stop motion. Moreover, this would be offered only to Barca fans thereby increasing the club’s fan base too. And if the present shirt sponsorship was to hit a bumpy patch then I have a feeling that the DS Group would swoop in and give infinite money for the deal of a lifetime. They could sponsor FCB through their mouth freshener, Pass Pass. There simply isn’t a better brand integration scheme possible anywhere else in the world.

“Pass rakho, pass karo, Pass Pass!”

Those three finals, which billions of people looked forward to, were like watching Casanova going hunting in his old age without his little blue pills; loads of foreplay, cautious advances and attempts at penetration but hardly any actual scoring. It’s probably in the blood of the Spanish though considering how they were also amongst the chaps that gave the world the Salsa but then again if they can produce one of the best basketball teams in the world, a sport with the shot clock and the backcourt violation, then it might be a problem that doesn’t afflict the entire country. And so if they don’t mend their ways within the next couple of years then I’d suggest dressing them up in protective gear and having them conduct their training sessions in landmine infested areas in Egypt, Afghanistan, etc. with a heavy ball because that ball can cover the ground like one latino lover on another. Of course, they might get better at being annoying with such practice but you can be sure they won’t be practicing the whole diving and melodramatic rolling-around-on-the-ground routine again.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, roll around like a dog with fleas

Or maybe the problem just lies in too many pretty boys playing with each other. Everyone just wants to pass the ball on to someone else and no one really wants to run with it or shoot or anything probably because their back hurts. The management could claim that unlike the FA, which banned the WAG brigade, they don’t have a choice because banning players could cause other problems. And as far as the players are concerned, I guess some people will do anything to win. Even that. With each other. So much for the beautiful game.

Either the whole team is gay for Xavi ("I'm open! Give it to me! Give it to ME!") or he can’t crouch without toppling over backwards


  1. brilliant!! pepes aura tackled alves' spirit LOL, looking at the final montage of pics- u really seem to be jobless after passing out :P

  2. You did make a good point there . Loved the aura tackling theory ,shot clock idea and pass pass endorsement application. But then teams haven't really tried to beat them at their own game . Maybe then they'll react differently . However,it's still a difficult art to master and even their 2nd eleven sucks at it. But yeah when you can play incredibly effective (and booooring) footy like that, why go all Cristiano Ronaldo at the slightest touch. So when do you move to Bangalore ?