Friday, May 19, 2006

The Best Team In Europe

I don’t like Real Madrid and I used to maintain a more or less equal disdain for Barcelona football club, for reasons that I might feel tempted to expand on at some point…or not. However, the truth is that I dislike Real Madrid quite a lot more than Barcelona and I’m quite happy that the latter have won this year’s Champions League. That’s not just because they beat Arsenal, although every little counts, it’s mainly because they are playing genuinely good and sometimes exhilarating football. The fact that they did’nt really do that on Wednesday night does’nt change my opinion, when the combination of Etoo, Ronaldinho and Messi is really working there is very little in European football that can match them. The destruction of Real Madrid in the league match at the Bernabeu earlier this season was majestic; the fact that it was Madrid on the receiving end only highlighted the difference at the moment between the 2 clubs. Barcelona are completely renovated compared to 3-4 years ago, and have what can genuinely be called a ‘team’ rather than just a collection of expensive individuals. Their president has also done something which, to my knowledge, no other club president in Spain has done – he has broken the power of the club’s ‘ultras’, the hard-core and often violently neo-nazi supporters. He did so despite receiving threats and its long overdue in a country where normally no action of any lind is taken against these ‘supporters’ and they often receive privileges that the ordinary supporter does’nt get. So good for him, and hats off to his team – shame it meant the Spanish league this season was so boring though.

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