May 6, 2011


‘More than a club’? No, just a football team: Barcelona’s handbaggery, theatrics and glorious goals in El Clásico showed that football has FA to do with morality. (Duleep Allirajah, 5/06/11, spiked)

Barcelona won the Champions League semi-final 3-1 on aggregate. But who were the losers? Real Madrid, yes obviously, but the casualty list also includes the reputations of Barcelona, Jose Mourinho and Spanish football.

I find it quite amusing that Barca’s self-righteous halo has slipped. But I refuse to join in with the wider chorus of boos aimed at cheating Spaniards or Mourinho’s pragmatism.

The tie was hyped as the ultimate showdown between the two titans of Spanish football. In truth the first leg was more El Histrionico than El Clásico. The game was littered with fouls, playacting, referee hounding, recriminations and handbaggery of the highest order. The football purists were appalled, but as a piece of theatre it was compelling viewing.

The British press are normally adoringly reverential about Barcelona’s beautiful football but their gamesmanship has prompted a rethink. The Daily Mail’s Des Kelly was not impressed. ‘At the Bernabeu, Pedro fell over more often than a drunk stepping off a spinning merry-go-round with an inner ear infection. Dani Alves spent so long rolling on the turf he became the first player to be stretchered away with third-degree grass burns’, wrote Kelly.

Barca are the first to complain when opponents employ spoiling tactics against them. But, as this match demonstrated, they’re not averse to resorting to the dark arts of gamesmanship themselves. Hopefully their playacting will deter prospective acolytes from being so easily seduced by their ‘more than a club’ self-righteousness.

They're too dependent of the referees to be considered great.

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Posted by at May 6, 2011 6:09 AM

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