Ten years ago this month Mércia and I took a three week vacation in Spain and it remains probably the best trip we’ve taken together, but one of the highlights for me will always be seeing a game between FC Barcelona and Villarreal at the Nou Camp Stadium. Full disclosure: I’ve been a dedicated fan for years.
Yesterday’s 5-0 absolute pasting of Real Madrid by Barcelona was exceptionally sweet. This may be the single biggest rivalry in club football in the world; arguably bigger than Celtics/Rangers and pretty much any regional or city derby match up.
What you saw was one team that communicated well and whose players had an almost telepathic read of the game. Leo Messi’s pass to David Villa for the fourth goal showed how thoroughly gifted he is as a player. While he didn’t score a goal, Messi’s skill as a playmaker merely underscores his versatility, his ability to read the game and adapt. In other words, to play as a member of a team and not a star.
I also believe it showed Pep Guardiola’s skill as a coach. He has crafted the play carefully, his style meshes well with the talent on the team. It’s truly impressive how quickly David Villa has fit in.
As for Real Madrid, there is too much talent on the team to ignore, although frankly, I’ve never really understood why Sérgio Ramos is taken so seriously. For their own good, it’s time for them to focus on fundamentals and team play. They looked completely disorganized, especially in the second half.