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.
This smacks of readership capture. And removing their kidneys in a bathtub full of ice.
Even 60 seconds of highlights were sweet. Ramos is a crybaby. And Xavi had his usual, utterly perfect game against Real.
It is one of the great pleasures in this life, watching Barcelona. 90 minutes, literally hundreds of good decisions. Where else can you experience that?
Also, Soccer posts suck. I just thought I’d stick my nose into this thread to say so, contrary to my normal behavior of ignoring threads I’m not interested in.
Thanks for nothing.
I enjoy watching futbol. Unfortunately, there is not much of it on regular TV. I have not the cable.
So nice to read you again. It was a fantastic match.
I know, sorry. It’s a dick move, and I’m really not aiming it at you, per se.
I’m not sweating it, but appreciate your response.
My better half said that they were more Brazilian than Brazil in the last two World Cups. I’m inclined to agree.
ESPN3.COM has the match available for replay…well worth watching.
@Randinho: I’ll smack that child around later. Now did you go to Barcelona and see Sagrada Familia?
WTF happened to Manchester United today? It’s bad enough getting bitch-slapped by WHam, but letting Spector score? TWICE?? Unthinkable.
Sagrada Familia is just … weird. I can’t imagine actually going to Mass in that melting ice cream cone.
@burnspbesq: I think it just got consecrated, which means I’m on a personal history project to see if that has ever happened to a major cathedral before completion. Of course Ratzie wouldn’t live long enough to see that, hell I’ll be lucky if I will.
Speaking of Wham:
Yes, I did do that. Whatever your view of George Michael, this is an awesome piece of disposable pop ear-candy.
Get up at- or stay up until- 6:30 am CST on Saturdays and you can watch EPL games for free at ESPN’s site.
Come to think of it, they’ve got more than just EPL games, and you might be able to stream them at your leisure throughout the week. I just stay up through the night to watch ’em so…
ETA: And I see someone beat me to this bit of advice.
@Mental Lint: Thanks!
@Andy K: You’re joking about the time, right?
I found it interesting that the focus of the article you linked was the coach…
Nope. If you wanna see it live- at least the game that ESPN carries- it’s 7:30am for me.
The thing is: Real lost because they tried to play.
Mourinho, more than anyone, knows how to beat Barça. But that involves defending, defending, defending and preventing Barça from keeping the ball.
It’s also very boring to watch and extremely un-Real-y.
So, Randinho, how about the Count’s hat trick and brace against Blackburn, huh?
I’m trying to get the 19-year old aspiring sportswriter at work into The Beautiful Game- he’s quite open to it- and was giving him a demonstration of Berbatov’s, uhhhm…ergonomic economy?…And had our two futbol-loving Mexican workmates rolling. Pick nose, tie shoes, stare at belly button, one step to the right, and IT’S IN THE NET!
Welcome back Randy!
Watching the Fulham-Birmingham replay right now, and trying to forget Liverpool’s loss to T’ham. Fuck. That hurt.
Love Barca too, though would root for father-rapers against RM.
Maybe a post updating the baffling Euro Cup action? There’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up.
Spurs are really fun to watch right now.
Trying to find a way to make you feel better about Liverpool, but since the Scousers chased Stevie Cohen and Kenny Hassan off of Sirius over some candid remarks regarding the inability of chunks of the LFC fan base to learn any lessons from Hillsborough, I can’t do so with any sincerity. Nothing personal, mind you, but LFC now leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
I was wondering what happened to you… so enjoy this belated nut punch….
The aging Frenchman will win your domestic side no hardware and Agudelo will join a long line of talented young Americans who do a cup of coffee in New Jersey before blossoming elsewhere.
It was ManU who decided to turn him from striker to defense.
@Mental Lint: Holy crap. Saw this post and got a little bit sick realizing I’d completely missed the match. But you’re right, it’s on ESPN3.com replay right now!
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!
Unfortunately for me, I find the prospect of watching most top-level soccer about as entertaining as watching baseball on ESPN. You’re going to see virtually the same teams all the time, and the only real drama is at the bottom of the table, which teams you won’t see on the teevee.
Holy shit. A post about the most fucking useless, boring game ever invented.
I’d rather sit through a tooth extraction without anesthesia than watch a millisecond of soccer.
@JenJen: de nada
@Andy K: Spurs are fun right now. Bale is great to watch.
That was a sweet finish by Agudelo, but I was even more impressed by Diskerud’s composure under pressure to make the pass. That lad has a future on a bigger stage than Norway.
Are you ever not a dick?
@Andy K: I try to stick to what’s going on on the pitch, but it’s harder and harder.
I can’t take another Chelsea league championship. Would much rather Man City or some new blood.
@burnspbesq: It’s Chinatown, Jake.
@NobodySpecial: Other than the Premier League, I’m pretty sure all Fox Soccer Channel has is mid-table and below — especially from Italy!
@WyldPirate: Then go to the dentist and get the fuck off this thread, broseph.
Some people have class and some people are you.
@burnspbesq: I see little evidence to the contrary.
@Mental Lint: Bale is on something. Some Welsh fucking magic in the offseason.
I’m telling you, he speaks Elvish.
Every Yankee fan I know wants Everton kit for Christmas. Being associated with that lot is going to irreparably damage the Everton brand.
@mcd410x: I honestly want to know, are there people who watch the Uruguayan league on FSC?
Who ARE these people?
Serie A is unwatchable. I’d rather watch college soccer.
@BGinCHI: Uruguayans. Duh. It’s not like Uncle Rupert to ignore a market he can
@burnspbesq: I’d like to think American money will buy some good teams, but am not holding my breath.
Let’s hope some small market team goes far in the FA Cup this year.
Everton is underachieving again this year, as usual. No goals.
I’m still kicking myself for falling asleep shortly before they got the winner at the Emirates. If I could just get myself to watch games that have already been played…
In a season that sees them at the top of the EPL table with a relatively weak roster (which, unfortunately, says a lot about the state of the league), it really shouldn’t come as that much of a shock that they lose like that with the second string starting.
And, fuck, man, it’s the Carling Cup.
@Yutsano: Maybe he’s searching the crowd for Aryan lads.
Or scientists or something.
Forlan though, damn.
@Andy K: Mrs. BG is going to be pissed they lost.
It’s going to be really hard to taunt her about it tomorrow. Major ManU fan.
I’ll find a way.
@Yutsano: Historically, churches were built starting from the altar area and consecrated ASAP. Most great cathedrals were consecrated decades before completion (a few, in some important respects, were never completed as money ran out or whatnot).
The Sagrada Familia is an anomaly as they began building it on the sides. That is partly due to the unique design of the place (a very ingenious distribution of weight, but one that also means they couldn’t properly start building the roof until all the walls were in place), but it also meant it took over a century for it to finally be built enough over the altar so it could be consecrated.
Hope that helps.
@BGinCHI: To quote that reticent but wise man Ferb: “That’s creepy on so many levels.”
@El Cruzado: That explains some things, but I thought there was some strange ties with the Gaudi family and the Church that kept things from advancing too far. And of course Franco raiding the construction funds didn’t help. Still it’s not bad progress from building just on donations alone.
I got a sweet deal with direct tv that gives me every soccer channel and many of the FSC games are the West Ham-Birmingham City, Blackburn Wolves type mid-table games.
And am I the only one who thinks Arsenal play a better brand of futbol than even the mighty Chelsea Blues?
My boys (Forest) pissed away a chance to move into the playoff places on Monday night, but getting Ramsey (who is ready to start playing) on loan from Arsenal could save the season.
Your wife and I? We’ll always have the memories of Cantona. (I’m pretty sure Al Gore invented YouTube for days like this.)
@mark boggs: Yes, yes you are.
In the new year your team is going nowhere. Here’s a hanky. Cry your eyes out.
Oh, Jesus H. Cheeriiist! Is this the ‘Sure, the Gunners don’t win silverware, but they lose more beautifully than anyone’ argument from a couple of years ago all over again? If they’d just win the big games, whether elegantly or thuggishly, it would be worthy of rehashing, imo.
@burnspbesq: Is the Welshie healthy?
I watched the game where he broke his leg and it was fucking terrible!!
We’re a very pro-Welsh household and have been hoping for his return. We’ll pull for Forest.
Wasted a lot of milliseconds to tell us how precious your milliseconds are. Apparently not precious enough, though, to not waste them on a little dick display.
@Andy K: With his collar up. Bastard.
I bow in his general direction. That guy had class.
Given the beyond-crappy season Liverpool FC is having now, I have temporarily transferred my footballing allegiance to that legendary English club Melchester Rovers.
I’ll check back with the Scousers next season.
@Amir_Khalid: Keep the faith. I don’t want to walk alone.
He played the last 29 minutes on Monday night.
Real Madrid yesterday. Man United today.
It was only the League Cup for the latter, but still it’s been a pretty good footballing week so far.
Great 2nd half Dempsey goal for Fulham!
Off to bed. Au revoir, footie fans.
Randinho!! Thank christ.
Major matches like this and I’m always wondering what the BJ thread would look like.
Any thoughts on the North London Derby? Yes, Arsenal are more entertaining to watch than the other “big four”, but … it was honestly a little shocking to watch them lose a 2-nil lead.
And Fabregas making an unforced error like that … zomg.
OTOH … Spurs on a serious streak! Gareth fucking Bale …
I don’t know about class, but he did- and still does- have style. Groovy style. And a car that never stops. But when the going gets rough, he’s super tough, with his Hong Kong Fooey
Seriously, I’ve developed one other man-crush- Diego Forlan, in this summer’s WC- that comes anywhere near the one I’ve still got for Cantona, and even that’s not really close.
Why I’m a (temporary) Melchester Rovers fan.
I bow in his general direction. That guy had class.
On and off the pitch. The star of the greatest commercial ever made.
Here’s something I was meaning to link during the World Cup. Jack Bell, iirc, linked here during Germany ’06. There are some pretty cool shirts there.
Sorry if commercialism- not so crass, in this case, imo- bothers anyone.
@Amir_Khalid: Your link broken. You fix.
@Mental Lint: Am watching now. Need something to clear my mind of the meta-fighting.
erm … I was about to make a joke about Franck Ribery, but realized that it was Inter Milan who played Bayern Munich in the CL final this year … Too bad.
Is Diskerud, in fact, the Giuseppe Rossi (infamous traitor of American footy who recently captained Italy) of Norway? After that 2nd half flash of possible brilliance, Norwegian football fans must be REALLY pissed.
Oh: FUCK ESPN FOR NOT AIRING THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS FOR USA vs ITA on actual TV. That is all.
Damn, shoulda known that would end up in moderation!
If anyone’s interested, there are some pretty nifty t-shirts at PhilosophyFootball. Google it. You’ll find something interesting.
Full disclosure: I’ve got absolutely nothing to do with that site. Just passing on something that was linked at the NYTimes soccer blog back during Germany ’06.
Can we set up that appointment for you?
@asiangrrlMN: Someday I’ll get the hang of this link thing. In the meantime, here we go again.
ETA: Alas, still no joy. I was trying to link to Wikipedia article on Melchester Rovers. Please to go there?
@Andy K: That’s pretty neat. I’m watching the game now. And, I’m going to write more. Multi-tasking am I!
@Amir_Khalid: Hm. It appears that the thread itself cannot be found, so it’s not your fault. I think? I’m getting the dreaded Error 404 message.
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but…Strike two!
In Wombat we trust.
Can I move to a parallel universe where Rachel Maddow and Hope Solo are straight?
These Melchester Rovers?
I think you might have been putting the “http://” in there, Amir.
@Andy K: Yep.
@Amir_Khalid: Got it! That’s funny and cool at the same time. And, because I can. Melchester Rovers.
@Andy K: Damn you!
::shakes fist at Andy K::
Only if in the same universe Peyton Hillis is gay and I’m ten years younger. Unfortunately we get the universe we have not the universe we wished we had.
@asiangrrlMN: Hon. Shush. :)
@Andy K: The proper phrasing for such is FYWP. All else is commentary.
If I’m having one of those extra-linky days I’ll do that. BJ just needs everything to the right of the “//”, while C&L, for some reason, requires the entire thing.
I have just the right dentist in mind.
@Yutsano: In that universe, I get Alan Rickman, Helen Mirren, Margaret Cho, Johnny Depp, Rachel Maddow, Troy Polamalu, and Lucy Lawless. Simultaneously.
@Yutsano: What? No fair that Andy K. beat me to it. Harrumph.
You’re gonna have to kill me to get Rachel to yourself, sweetie.
@burnspbesq: You think I have a problem with that? I have the rusty pitchfork. Or, we could share. I don’t mind sharing.
P.S. FYWP. Can’t edit my own post. Harrumph.
Well, apparently Jozy Altidore was chatting up Alex Morgan on Twitter after the first match, so … there’s that. She’s, like, 19, though.
It’s been a long while since I watched a full match w/ the senior USWNT. I watched the U-20 USWNT choke against a very strong Nigeria team and lose before the semis for the first time. Reports say that the senior USWNT are exhibiting some uninspired play against a much more competitive field of World Cup teams even w/o China.
So … I’m worried. A more competitive WC is good for women’s pro football everywhere, but it seems like the problems that beset the US men’s side: lack of footballing culture, low expectations, lack of consistent and strong regional rivals (except for maybe a lack of skill — heh) are slowly creeping up on the women’s side, too.
It certainly won’t help the WPS. (How sad is it that both of Marta’s clubs eventually folded?)
Oh, dear God, no. Not this. Anything but this.
@burnspbesq: Fuck yeah. Take them. I am so fucking sick of the ‘you have to build us a stadium or we will leave’ bullshit.
Out of Cymbalta since Saturday. Brain not working properly.
I called dibs way back in dickety five, after I first saw Bob Guccione’s Caligula.
BTW, that Dame and I share our birthday with Mick Jagger, Jennifer Lopez, Jeremy Piven, the late Stanley Kubrick and the late George Bernard Shaw, amongst others.
Word. But I sure am thankful for ESPN3, which my broadband provider only picked up a few months ago. Watched the Grey Cup on it Sunday, too. The international sports coverage is just stellar, they offer practically everything on demand, and it looks fantastic on my PC.
How did everyone watch Barca anyway? Gol TV? I’m switching to DirecTV at the end of the year mostly to get it, and NFL Network.
@Andy K: Fuck You Word Press. I will share Dame Mirren with you. I’m in a generous mood.
What the fuck can’t edit? FYWP! I really hope these bugs get ironed out in the great BJ site overhaul.
We still bitch about WP over at C&L, and that was two formats ago. Fuck, John should switch it over to Drupal. Jamie, who’s the techie at C&L, swears by Drupal. Took him a while to get it all up and running, but he’s one of the first to have worked with it, and had a lot of shit he had to play with first.
@Andy K: Jamie’s the man! You know, we’re FB and Twitter buds, but what’s really crazy is that he only lives a few miles from me and we still haven’t met. Gotta work on that for the new year.
I’ll never forget the joyous day we commiserated over the Final Moments of the Touchdown Jesus of I-75. Jamie rules. :-)
@Andy K: My brother loves Drupal. I’ve learned the basics, and he’s pushing me to learn more for my next website and next blog. I am resisting because I am not a techie, damn it, but he says once you learn it, it runs like a dream.
Yeah, like a dream sounds about right. Doesn’t hog the same amount of space, loads lickety-split. When C&L switched over the compliments far outweighed the complaints. In the past, complaints outpaced compliments.
BTW, compared to Haloscan, WP is heaven.
Why didn’t I ever imagine you having a brother? Or a father, for that matter? I’ve read you writing about your mom… Don’t answer. Thinking out loud.
Fucking hell: I’m watching the gols right now, and while I’m very happy for Jonathan Spector, did the US really need another midfielder??
@Andy K: I used to do work for my bro as his copy editor. He’s a realtor, but he’s also a techie genius. He set up my blog. You don’t want to read about my father. You could if you go to my site and search for him, but trust me, you don’t. As for my brother, he lives here, and we get along, but we don’t have much in common. Anyway, he made me learn Joomla first which sucked. Then, I learned WordPress.org, not com for my blog, and now he’s pushing Drupal on me. Like I said, I learned the basics, but I am not sure I want to take the time to actually learn it. I’m not a techie!
What the US needed was just a bit more up front. One name: Charlie Davies. Hopefully he’ll be in top form the next time around. He might not have the raw talent and potential of Altidore, but he’s smart and active.
Terribly stupid question as the third goooooal is scored: Isn’t Real Madrid supposed to be good?
I didn’t see the game live, and I’m not watching now, but I’m enjoying the hell out of the updates I’m getting.
Fuck Real Madrid! Jose Mourinho or not, they’re the fucking fascists’ team!
@Andy K: But they are supposed to be good, aren’t they? That’s why I instinctively root against them. This game is enjoyable, but puzzling. What updates are you getting?
Definitely. And so is Barca. If you were, say, a Villareal fan, it would be like watching the Yankees and the Red Sox: You’d want both of them to lose.
Yours from this game, Paula’s from the Man Utd.-West Ham game (okay, not really enjoying the latter, being a Man Utd. fan).
@Andy K: Ah. Got it. On both accounts. And yeah, they were talking up Barca, so screw ’em both. Final gooooooal! And that’s all she wrote. Night, all.
Sergio Ramos? At age 24, he has a World Cup medal, a European medal, and two La Liga medals. He’s doing something right.
“They looked completely disorganized…”.
Move to San Francisco, and begin rooting for the 49ers. You’ll feel right at home.
Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods
I love Real Madrid–it’s much better than the Simulated Madrid that street vendors are hawking.
Don’t forget about Boca-River. They take that shit seriously. For reals.
Also, too: Xavi attempted 117 passes and completed 114. Un-be-freaking-lievable. Galeano is going to have to update Soccer in Sun and Shadow with a chapter on this edition of Barca.
What the US needs is a left back. Bocanegra will be 34 at the next World Cup, and Bornstein has been tested and found wanting. Right back is OK for one more cycle, with Dolo and Spector. The middle will be OK: Omar Gonzalez will be ready to step in alongside Onyewu by 2014, and DeMerit will still be able to provide cover.
The midfield will be fine for 2014. Bradley will be in his prime. Jermaine Jones will have acclimated. Andy Najar may be in the picture by then, although I worry about his size being a limiting factor. If Diskerud continues to develop, he can step in on the right, or maybe it will be Brek Shea or Bedoya. Donovan showed this season after Beckham came back from his injury that he can play very well on the left.
We need someone to step up and be the guy up front alongside Dempsey. Altidore needs to become a professional. Davies needs to prove that he can be the guy we thought he was pre-injury. Agudelo needs to mature. There may be somebody out there that we’ve never heard of who will explode; remember, in 2006 Davies wasn’t even thought of as the best player in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
We’re set in goal for the forseeable future, particularly if Friedel retires and Guzan inherits the starting job at Villa. Some countries have one keeper as good or better than Timmy, but nobody has two as good as Timmy and Goose.
D’oh! Forgot about Eric Lichaj.
Celtics-Rangers? They play different sports.
Its Celtics-Lakers. Used to be Celtics-76ers, back when the latter had a great team (DR. J, Moses Malone, Mo Cheeks, etc.)
vs. Bird, McHale, Parish, Ainge etc. I count seeing Bird and Jim Brown (another sport yet) play in person a few times among the highlights of my spectator experience.
I admire the skill of soccer players but don’t understand enough of the fine points to see how 90 minutes without a score can be exciting. I’m not putting it down, just saying it’s not for me.
I’m watching the gols right now, and while I’m very happy for Jonathan Spector, did the US really need another midfielder??
What we need is a wingback or two who can play in a 4-2-3-1 (or other MODERN formation) so it’s actually kind of disheartening seeing him do so well from central midfield rather than his normal position.
Love your posts Randinho. Keep up the good work.
Also, I want to kick a puppy every time I watch Sergio Ramos. Someone needs to tell him to pass the ball instead of trying to take on two defenders. He seems as if he hasn’t learned this yet.
A delightful way to begin December by finding this thread in the morning’s trawl! How nice to see some of this summer’s familiar names: Randinho, JenJen, Paula, burnsbpesq, AndyK, BGinCHI. One Christmas wish (and I’ve been especially good this year) would be to have Randinho write a biweekly or so football post here (if time and interest permit).
I had the enormous pleasure of watching “El Out-Classico” live at ESPN Deportes. Understood little of the commentary, but words were irrelevant to the pageant on display at the Camp Nou.
How supremely satisfying to see the “Special One” hunkered down in the RM dugout throughout the second half, too cowardly to face the Barcelona faithful. Barca completed 636 passes! of which Xavi himself completed 114!! And at long, long last a definitive resolution to the debate over the preeminence of Messi or CRonaldo. I am seriously trying to order one of the t-shirts printed up after the match by Catalan newspapers showing a hand with five fingers spread. Every so often, the so-called “beautiful game” truly deserves this description. (Spoken like a true partisan.)
As for partisanship, hey, it looks like Arsenal might actually win a trophy this season! Though I fear the Carling Cup may be all that’s added to the trophy case. For the love of god, please ship off the atrocious Theo Walcott!! Will Thomas Vermaelen ever return? How soon until Robin van Persie goes off injured again again again? Ah, the enduring agony of being an Arsenal fan.
But my absolute favorite recent football story involves World Cup villain Luis Suarez. Veterans here will recall the heated controversy over the degree of criminality involved in the Uruguayan striker’s goal-mouth handball that denied victory and advancement to Ghana in their quarterfinal match.
Well, last week, Suarez, who plays “professionally” for Ajax in Holland, received a seven match ban for BITING an opposing player on the COLLARBONE. Yes, “character isolated by a deed,” as Yeats says.
@burnspbesq: Nah, I got the dentist right here. (h/t Spike and Mike, those sick, twisted geniuses)
PS Barca’s win almost makes up for the Grey Cup.
@handsmile: I second this emotion.
Yes I saw Sagrada Familia, I even climbed one of the towers for this shot.
Amen on Bale. I’m sure Maicon doesn’t want to see him again.
Absolutely right on Boca-River. Agree with you on Xavi. He’s unreal – or unReal :-)
Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been working like a dog and will try to catch up later.
Thanks to all for the kind words.
@handsmile: THERE YOU ARE!! Was wondering when you were gonna turn up. :-)