LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Barcelona pose for photographs as they celebrate victory in the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Perhaps I’m still high on euphoria or the lack of sleep is seriously messing with my sanity but I believe I (and millions of others) have watched one of the most dominant performances of any team, in any football final. For the better part of the last two weeks there was nothing newsworthy. Both teams could afford to rest several key players so this week has been largely low on the news front. That is if you chose to ignore the build-up stories leading up to the 2011 UEFA Champions League.
Much has been made of Real Madrid’s supposedly re-ascendency to the paramount of the European game. The arrival of Jose Mourinho in the Spanish capital was supposed to break the supremacy exercised by FC Barcelona, in Spain as well as in Europe. Over two legs in the semi-final of Europe’s most prestigious club competition the Merengues were comprehensively beaten. Nevertheless, neither FC Barcelona nor Real Madrid did themselves any favors and the reputation of both teams was stained. In the end, the Blaugrana prevailed and Europe’s two most dominant teams of the last decade progressed to the final of the Champions League.
Say what you want, but for the better part of the past decade Real Madrid have been living off of their illustrious history. Personally I can’t understand why every new player Real Madrid recruit is quick to champion the Merengues as the best club in the world. Granted Los Blancos are the most successful side in the Champions League and Spain but that’s really like me taking credit for my predecessor’s accomplishments. Looking at the current Real Madrid set-up I can only identify one Merengue who has won a Champions League with Los Blancos, Ilker Casillas.
Since the oldest active player on both teams is 30-plus year old, it is safe to assume that during that person’s career no other club has been more successful than FC Barcelona or Manchester United. Sorry but I don’t understand all the hype regarding Real Madrid, celebrating the progress into semi-finals of the Champions League – is that really an accomplishment? FC Barcelona have done it five times in the last six years and won the trophy trice.
My point is, the hype around this new look Madrid side has stolen the limelight from Manchester United’s remarkable accomplishments. The Red Devils progressed to the Champions League final for the third time in four years.
However, FC Barcelona – my team – has won the Champions League, again. Maybe pundits, critics and fans alike are exaggerating the performance of FC Barcelona, maybe not. Perhaps we need to let some time pass away before we can proper assessment of last night’s game. But it has been a wonderful ride, especially for me. I normally don’t get overly excited about anything. I can’t really process why people are so invested in talent shows a la American Idol. I can relate to the rags to riches sentiment behind it but it still leaves me indifferent. It’s possibly because the whole music business and pop stardom is too fickle. Every other year there’s a new star. C’mon.
Others can’t comprehend why my fascination with FC Barcelona borders on obsession. Okay, it’s not that bad but close. It’s one of those things that transcend gender, race and age. If I had grandchildren I could talk football with them without feeling completely out of place. I could tell them stories about Lionel Messi just like I was told stories about football greats of past generations. You and your grandparents would make an odd couple at a Lady Gaga concert, right?
The 2010/2011 season will always be special to me. It has been a fun experience. Out of the blue I (along with Manuel Traquete) was asked by Nick Ewing to join him at his new venture at SB Nation, Barca Blaugranes. At that point I was scribbling articles every now and then at Bleacher Report. I never had thought much about it, it was a hobby which help(ed) me counter my insomnia. If you only sleep 3 hours a night you need something to occupy your mind. Sleep is still hard to come by but at least I had a something to do in the early morning hours.
For one reason or another I’m the last man standing from the founding members. But the size of this community has been steadily growing as does its staff. Over the past couple of weeks and months I’ve recruited a host of talented writers and I felt very privileged to work with them this season. What started out as a project of three guys grew into a community of hundreds. At one point or another I’ll probably be not as much involved as I currently am but this project/community will be in good hands.
To pick on my earlier statement, the BB staff is a good reflection of how the shared passion for a sports team transcends race, gender and age. The way I see it, the next 3 to 5 years of BB are secured. If Arron doesn’t lose his passion for Barca (which I highly doubt) he’ll be in his 20’s once the rest of us is knocking on 30 and could carry on. Who knows? From what I know pretty much every one of these guys could take over. This season has ended, another year has passed. Maybe I’m hopelessly romantic but I would like to see BB still around in the next couple of years.
I don’t have offspring of any sorts but I’m part of a wonderful staff that made this season quite memorable. If FC Barcelona would never win a single title again, 2010/2011 would always stand out for me. Along with a couple of perfect strangers I created snap-shots of a truly mesmerizing season.
Empire Of The Sun - Walking on a Dream
2009 will always be remembered as FC Barcelona’s most glorious season. But in my case it was more me looking in from the outside as opposed to be a more active. Personally, the 2010/2011 has been more special to me.
I managed to prize away (read: steal…not really but close) a host of writers and convinced them to join BB. What’s more, I even managed to get featured on CNN for whatever reason.
Anyways it was a great ride, goodbye 2010/2011. Let the celebrations begin.
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