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

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Return of The Ego

The Return of the Ego

For three years, the Barcelona fans had the indulged in the attitude of their team. It was a team with few egos or where egos where able to co exist and one of the traits of the team was just humbleness and self-scarification of the other.

It only took three years for it to disappear; only a few months after the European cup had been won the first warning signs were there. It all started with Joan Laporta boasting that the team would win all seven titles, the exact opposite of what were the staples of the board, the coach and the team in the beginning, but I guess that is what happens when you have not won anything for five years. I choked on Laporta’s comments and thought that the Karma would come back to haunt him, to haunt us.
So far all titles (but one) have been lost.

Sevilla in the European super cup final trashed Barcelona, who had not taken off their smoking from the night before, where they received many awards in a spectacular gala. While Sevilla had been preparing for the game in all seriousness Barcelona were jetting around America in a Globetrotter fashion, believing it would be an easy match. After all they were the European Champions.

Laporta’s comments have hurt, like Rijkaard has reminded us so many times, you cannot even think such thoughts, on occasions you can rely on pure talent, but will also goes a long long way, especially if the opposites teams thoughts are elsewhere.

The warnings have been there all season, while the team has been playing poorly in all but perhaps 45 + 90 + 45 + 30 minutes this season, there have been all kinds of excuses, the world cup, the lack of pre season training, injuries, but the fact is that the team has lost all principal values: humbleness, self scarification for the other and self criticism.
The egos have taken over and for the first time there are camps in the dressing room. Those on the Brazilians side and the other ones. Those who train hard and those who hardly train at all. Those who breathe football and those who breathe life.

Over these years Deco’s ascendancy over the dressing room has been prominent, he is a magnificent player who was one of the chief reasons for Barcelona’s success, but as his influence at the time was positive, it has now turned negative. He is very clever, has an astute technical sense, but he is also very manipulative and has that charismatic leadership that can be so constructive, but also so destructive. It is called the Rise of Deco Power. He has imposed the Brazilian way of working, that proved to be successful, but like so many methods has an expiry date. It is a working method that bases itself on joy, freedom and individuality. While it lasted it worked wonders, but what should have happened is that during success the team should have worked harder on becoming even better, there were signs even then: the lack of corners scored, the difficulty in defending corners and free kicks, the lack of killing off opponents etc. The team has simply not become better, it has stagnated and that plus lack of fitness, plus lack of hunger, self criticism, over belief in one self as an individual (not as a unit) is what we are seeing this year. Why has Deco not been stopped, how come he has been allowed this immense power on the dressing room (some even say he dictates who plays and who does not), well one reason is obviously Frank Rijkaard, a man who believes in flexible authority, rather than authority through fear, and it did worked for some time. Lets not forget he had Ten Cate on his side last year, who took on the part of authority. What does Neeskens do apart from Sudokos? Perhaps when the ego rises to unbearable proportions, no method works. Once a player believes he is more important than the team, it is time to go. I sincerely hope that Rijkaard’s way is the way to go, as I always believed in self criticism, or as Xavi puts it “How do you feel when the coach comes to you and asks, looking you deeply in your eye – you did not follow my instructions”, but like so many other members of the team (board, players, coaches etc) he will have to do some serious reflection on how to affront the situation and if he has the hunger to affront another season. I am sure in the summer some players will arrive, as so far the players have sensed their position is secured however badly they play, and others have sensed that whatever they do they can’t enter the team, there will be both additions of serious threats to first team and squad members, as the group will have to be shaken up from complacency.

The situation is simple: It has no solution. It is the behaviour of a Nouveau Riche, of spoilt kids. It is such a shame as last year I felt so proud over my team, the effort everyone put in, the will of going in the same direction, the hunger in their eyes, but also the kindness in their eyes.

Like they all learnt to gain success, the transformation of losers into winners, they will now learn to digest success, the co existing of humans, rather than clash of egos each looking for their self-gain.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Mirror Image

I remember very clearly the excitement I felt when Leo Messi came on for
Barcelona to score against Albacete, two seasons ago. It was his first match
for the first team, after having arrived as a 13 year old. He scored two identical goals, both equally as beautiful. It was our little secret, nurtured and schooled he has now fully blossomed on the main stage. No one can keep him secret anymore.

Perhaps it will be a classical question in times to come: where were you on
18 April 2007 (like where were you 17 May 2007)?To answer the first question
I was at home - the game was shown on TV two hours later and after all
Barcelona have been dreadful this year, so it was an easy option. Listen to
it on the radio.

It became one of the longest awaits in some time, waiting to see the famous goal. Luckily we live in a modern world (not that many times I think that, due to my romantic/sentimental nature). Perhaps it will be described as "the spectacle that did not take place", like Baudrillard explained the Gulf War, as only 50000 people saw it. Even his own brother arrived, and 30 second later Messi scored the goal that everyone is talking about.

It is frightenlingly similar to Maradona’s goal, a mirror image, the only difference being that Messi with his right foot and Maradona with his left. Everything else is virtually the same.

There are some differences though, one a visual one, which is that Maradona is totally aware of everything that goes around him. He knows that England has closed off all passing routes and the only way forward is forward.
Messi seems only concerned with the quickest way to goal. The context of the match is although what makes it different, with Maradona playing in what is the Main Stage, the semi final in the World Cup, against England only four years after the sour Falklands War. It was not just a game of football, here we had two nations who were desperate to humiliate each other.
Argentina scored a goal in a way that England simply can't stand still today, the famous hand of God.
I think that still today they can't be sure which humiliated them more, the Hand
of God or the Zig Zag of God.

While it is true, that Maradona's goal meant more, much more and Maradona is today a God, thanks to that World Cup which he won single handedly, he simply means so much to the people of Argentina. A God. When he passed out a few years ago, I knew of people who would pass by his hospital every day, to lay a flower (and if you wander they are normal people). Like Messi said - for so many years Maradona was the only thing we could look forward to. He has given us so much and for so many years he was all we had.

Messi scoring at the back stage, against “only Getafe” it is the team with least conceded goals in La Liga this year, has had to suffer being "the next heir to
Maradona", for some time, still he seems to be totally unaware of the pressure applied upon him and is upstaging himself at each occasion. While Maradona's goal probably beats his, b importance/context, he is still six years younger than Maradona was at the time. He was not even born then, and we have to thank football for his beauty, for that is what it is.

Let's hope that defenders will not opt for the same option as they did to
Maradona - Kick Him Out. When we are shouting for Fair Play. Let's Also
Protect These Kind Of Players. Let's Not Make Them Endangered Species.

see comparison

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Living Conditions

I can't say my living conditions are bad, they are even excellent for now, however it won't last forever...


Monday, April 16, 2007

Bees and the nuclear alarm clock

Nuclear alarm clock

Standing on a street corner. In all decency. Remember – Decency. Not waiting for anything in particular, but letting time pass by. It was mid afternoon and I rarely allow time to just pass by like that. We live in a modern time, where time is money is freedom. But in all freedom it was something special today. A crisp spring afternoon, the very first one of this year. People passed by and I allowed them to pass by with few interruptions. As time went, I found myself more and more at ease with my newfound hobby, until suddenly someone did not agree with me. This time I was severely interrupted and that is to put it mildly.

A creature was telling me something. It kept buzzing around my physical self, my soul and me. My deepest inner feelings where hurt or was I perhaps hurting someone else? My conversation with myself got that banal, or at least it made me realise the meaningless of them. This huge bee, perhaps it was a Mother Bee, or was it a wasp, perhaps it was a wasp. I have to admit I have never really known the difference. Anyway it kept flying around me and around me, until I felt trapped, it was like it was creating a trap, putting me into a jail like existence, until I moved and I moved further away. Waking me up of my luxury of standbying. I moved and moved away, but for a long long time it’s buzzing kept ringing in my head. Like a nuclear alarm clock.

The Bee

I was sitting by my desk, well not my desk, but in this beautiful living room, with a high ceiling, perhaps 4 times my height), it is a beautiful dark brown heavy wood dining table. In front of my I got some chicken picture, that I am not entirely sure of its purpose. It had been a productive day, it was sunny and I had even had the opportunity to enjoy the sun, in the end it was not the direct result of the weather driving me in, nor was the lust of working on a Sunday, in the end it was fear that drove me in. Fear of Insects.
I am not really scared of them, but I find them uncomfortable, I just can’t relax as they creep up on me. I came in and refound some peace, until I notice some sound, look up and on my window, the right one in the room, there is some huge thingie buzzing. I walk over and ui yuk, or uif. Whatever you want to call it, I decided to affront it bravely and let the sweet creature out, however it was dangling on the right handle, meaning I could only try to open the window with the left handle.
In the end I retreated and decided that sometimes it is handy to use the Gender issue, so I called for the Man in the house to sort the situation out. We got a jar and even he trembled as he put the glass on top of the beast. In the end it was in the pot, with the lid firmly on. It buzzed safely inside, that will say for our safety. It looked like a giat spider in there, so big was it, a monster. As the rubbish was going to be emptied the next morning, it seemed like a good idea to put it in the bin.
Next morning after taking my bicycle out of the front door, after walking down the steps and open the gate I see the bee sitting, or lying on top of the bin, with the jar (and the lid screwed on) next to it. Strange, very strange, but sweet.

My neighbours factory: