I don't write this as a neutral fan of the beautiful game but as a Culé, I will however try to remain as unbiased as possible considering the circumstances under which I write this. Wednesday was a farce, in that both teams chose to claim before the game that it didn't really matter if we won the trophy or not. A farce because inspite of both teams putting out their strongest 11, there wasn't any mention of "it's just an over hyped friendly" till AFTER we beat Madrid.
What is even crazier is when fans bought into this as an excuse when their team lost. Jose Mourinho a.k.a the translator, jumped at the opportunity to tell the world that what happened was, a great team like Real Madrid playing a "small" team like F.C. Barcelona and they only lost because the ball boys disappeared. Vanished. Did a houdini, call it what you will. Anything but admit that what actually happened of course was a tiny part of a story of a ball boy in a stadium belonging to a "small" team.
This ball boy, can only be referred to as blessed by the Gods, If anybody (except Madrid fans) were to see the way his life turned out. Indeed, this ball boy who was being educated about 150 metres from the stadium that he worked in was destined for great things. He grew up playing football, he grew up to lead a "small" team to the finals of the European Cup. He grew up with a doctrine, one that he would in the future, represent, just by -being!
This ball boy, after leading that "small" team to several trophies in his time as a player, decided he wanted to try his hand at managing. In 2008, after earning a promotion and becoming the manager of the senior squad, he led that small team to the Bernabeu and destroyed them, 2-6. A couple of years later he beat that same team at home 5-0 not to mention the few victories in between.
How many times does the ball boy have to teach that great team a lesson before you reverse the roles?
People will say many things about this year's Spanish Supercopa, how the better team didn't win, how that "small" team has a tendency to rush a referee, how that "small" team's players dive because, obviously, a scissor kick from behind with absolutely no intention to get the ball, is nothing right? Cesc Fabregas was expected to stay upright? Iker Casillas, was one of the very few players I liked and respected in Madrid. No longer. I don't doubt his skills as a goalkeeper, he is the best. Yes, I said it. I believe Casillas is better than Victor Valdes but only slightly but as the captain of the Spanish National Team, I expected a lot more.
That "small" team might have won a pointless trophy, but is it too much to ask the translator to try and lose with a little dignity? He claims the ball boys disappeared? News flash Mourinho: he was standing right next to you and beat Madrid with a less than fully fit squad playing football! Oh and this is football, the better team does not always win! There is a huge difference between being a good team and being champions. Spirit. The idea that we can lose against any team, but we will take that loss and keep trying. Leave the referees, the opponents, UNICEF, UEFA and Mel Gibson's conspiracy theories out of it, when you lose, say it. The respect that you can earn by being gracious in defeat is part of what makes a sport, a sport.
Until recently, I was inclined to believe that Sir Alex Ferguson was the older version of Mourinho in many ways. He knows how to manipulate the media and play mind games with the opponent before a game. But the way he handled his team's defeat at Wembley, was amazing. This was the second time he had lost to Barca and yet there wasn't any talk of bad decisions or venom. In it's place was a calm determined look, one of respect for the opponents and a profound belief that "we can beat them". Maybe, not this time but we have what it takes and we look forward to the next time.
Whether Madridstas believe it or not, your coach represent the club more than anybody else. I can never undermine the great pride I have in my club's image because of Pep Guardiola. That ex-ball boy is all class, he never talks bad about a rival. Even with Madrid, he gives all the respect the club deserves but even more important is how he does that even with the other "small" teams. If Mourinho were to ever read this rant of mine: you will never succeed Ferguson (as manager of United) for this reason, alone. You are probably among the top 5 when it comes to tactics. You will probably be remembered as one of the great coaches of our time but when you leave, your team seems to implode. That isn't me giving you credit for how great a coach you are.
People will only talk about how great Mourinho's conquests have been. I, personally, don't hear much about the "great Inter Milan" side of 09/10. Legacy, a word it seems that the translator doesn't understand or care for. Ferguson has left his with Manchester United, Pep with Barca as a player and coach. Mourinho, however, is remembered for the trophies HE has won and the hooliganism (for lack of a better word) he encourages in his teams.
El Clasico could become great. The two biggest teams of Spain and probably the world with arguably, the two best coaches in Europe fighting it out. It could have been a spectacle like never before. However, with the arrival of the translator and the advent of a style of football which includes fouling a player to an extent as witnessed on Wednesday, has degraded the clasico to levels that I, personally, have not seen before.
I honestly believe that both teams were to blame for that night. Marcelo's foul deserved a red card, there is no question about it. If any of the Madrid fans believe otherwise, well, ignorance is bliss. However, I don't think Barca should have rushed the area and the referee. Madrid and their (highly susceptible to temper flares) defenders simply gave in to the pressure of conceding an all important goal 3 mins from extra time. If the game had reached extra time, I'm willing to admit that Barca would have lost just by comparing the fitness levels of both teams. But that didn't happen did it? Lionel Messi being the greatest player the world has seen (yes, I think hes better than Maradona and Pele were even if he hasn't won the World Cup) popped up and did what he does best. A beautiful left-footed volley that put an end to Madrid's dream of winning that "useless" trophy. We scored and that was that. So alright, they gave in and did what they could, which is foul. Alright, our team might be to blame for giving in to the pressure and reacting to that foul.
What excuse does Mourinho have? Eye gouging Barca's assistant coach was uncalled for. As a coach, your team and the club will be judged for your mistakes. The translator cannot take credit for trophies won and choose to relinquish responsibility if his team loses! Man up and lose with some dignity for God's sake. He would have got a lot more respect from even our fans if he had just said "We were unlucky and congratulations to Barca". Didn't we do the same when we lost the Copa del Rey? If that isn't reason enough, a good word from Mourinho would have done wonders to calm fans from both teams. It's a shame really, but since Wednesday, Jose Mourinho has in my books become the most disgusting species of vermin that has ever represented any sport. All his virtues as a coach will not change the fact, in the end : A ball boy turned out to be the true champion.