This blog will be dedicated to the beautiful passions of life: Food, Film, Football (Barça), Philosophy, Literature, Art and Humanity.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

How it Feels To Be A Culé

How it Feels To Be A Culé (a Barça Supporter) or in Love with Barça!

First we must come to Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard:
The man who is the only true Gentleman left. The Man who is Elegance himself. The Man who does not chance, through bad times or glorious times. The Man who has tasted all success himself, but is happy to be in the shadow of his team. The Man who could sit back and strike his ego (cock), but chooses not too.

According to Rijkaard a coach must have many different methods to employ: work can be physical, or making players feel happy, giving them more risks, helping or punishing them. It really depends on the situation. It's about observing and trying to see where your work helps the team most. Aware that no one is the same, so you have to accept people as they are.

The difficult first months, when Rijkaard was very very close to leave by the back door, if it would not have been for the faith of the president. He wanted to get to know his players, find a unique way that suited his team and for almost two years now, Barcelona have been playing wonderful football. At times, yes, sloppy at the back, but when the concentration is there there is little that can stop them. It is not that we only have one of the best forward line up in the world, but the defence is also reliable and that is not because of playing defensively, but of the whole team defending. It is a team that plays marvelous football, one could describe it as free flowing, but it is also a team that works extremely hard. The ball is won back quickly and in a split of a second set up for defence. How many miles does Eto'o run every game? Giuly and Messi are constantanly chasing the ball back into their own half to spurt forward in a split second.

It is a team that has many many ways of winning a match, not only through the shear genious of players such as Messi, Ronaldinho and Eto'o, but also by patiently awaiting a chance, keeping the ball to their own wishes, through players such as Deco, Iniesta and Xavi (who has had a few magnificent seasons, but unfortunately injured). It even seems like Barcelona have started to use counter attacking at times, through the pace of players as Messi, Giuly, Eto'o and Ronaldinho.

It is such a wonderful feeling to have all newspaper praising them, everyone at their feet, but even better that the players still keep their feet on their ground, not even wanting to discuss that retaining the league title will be easy or that it is going to be an easy way to Paris, no no they only talk of the long long way to go. Yes, they are happy with the way they are playing, but it is far too early.
It makes one proud to have amazing players, but even prouder to have good men as well and that is very much Rijkaard's effort, the Dalai Lama, the one who even does not seem to be present, the one who treats the players as humans and not marionettes according to their bible.

For us pragmatic dancing is not enough, pragmatic eating is not enough, pragmatic football is not enough.

It has not only been a good feeling to win at Bernabeu, a couple of season ago, Barça won 1-2, but that was a hard contest, were Valdes was Barcelona's main man, this time there was no contest, there was NO colour. It was not only that we beat Madrid at Bernabeu, but that we totally humiliated them, we stripped them down in embarrassment in their own home, where fans ended up applauding Ronaldinho's second goal, remember Spanish fans are not English fans, this was done partly in honour of a man who might well mark an era in football, but also in protest of their own teams total lack of commitment, courage and quality.

When Raul was injured a journalist from Catalunya pointed out that the first player to search for his well-being was Edmilson, second Puyol and third Xavi (not one of them a Madrid player).

One almost has the feeling, that nothing will be the same again…That a new era has started.

What feels most satisfying though is that the whole of Europe is taking off the sombrero, that the English press realise why we prefer our team, to Mourinho's team. That hopefully you can combine spectacular football with trophies, that the sweet defeat does not have to be a defeat, that romanticism is not dead yet, that there is hope for grace.


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