Taboo, to mention it here. But this club and the team we worship are in dire straits. I haven't posted a piece here in quite some time but I guess this is as good a time as any to bring ourselves to talk about that elephant (which at this rate will only get bigger) in the room.
FC Barcelona is in need, moreso than ever in the last 4 years, of our support. Cules worldwide are being forced to answer a question that this team also faces. "To fight or flee?"
Character: It isn't just the team's character and fighting spirit that is in the spot light but the fans themselves will over the next few months, show their true colours. On the one hand, personally, I have been extremely disappointed by the attitude shown by many fans (not all) all across the web. People have gone from claiming Pep Guardiola leaving isn't a bad thing, to Lionel Messi's physical condition to our lack of fighting spirit when the team find themselves in a tough situation.
It isn't my place to judge fans and indeed, debate or questioning things could be construed to be a good thing. However, the one thing that sticks out for me is what has been asked off us in press conferences by Pep Guardiola and recently, Gerard Pique.
If it has come to a point that our players need to specifically ask fans to support them get past this dark time, then we must be doing something wrong. I know, I'm digressing but don't we as fans have a responsibility? Have we forgotten the tough times before Pep? Yes, as Cules we have been spoilt and it's something that always worried me. It seems fans have allowed complacency to set in faster than the players themselves!! I can't forgive myself that. I refuse to give up on this team even if we didnt win another trophy this season. For that matter, you can hold me to this, I will only really start worrying if we go another 2 seasons without winning anything.
BUT, living in denial is not an option either. We have or have most probably lost the league after the Osasuna game. Injuries, pitch conditions, Referees can be blamed to the Gods and back but that won't change that our expectations from this team are higher than any set of fans of any club (and rightly so, cause this is the only team capable of literally, anything) and yet, we have not performed and now we find ourselves 10 points behind the leaders and have to face the music, smell the coffee, roses, call it what you will...
The leaders, Real Madrid are our biggest rivals and things have gotten worse since you-know-who came to Spain *do not say his name out loud* and now there is talk from a large set of Madridstas (just as arrogant as many Cules who, dare to presume a victory in the Clasico after all the victories over the last 4 seasons like somehow the past decides the present) but not all of the possibility of a Pasillo.
That Spanish football tradition that is almost as stupid as shaking hands before a game in the open. The Japanese, Chinese and indeed a large part of the Eastern Asian peoples have a belief in "saving face". In battle between rival samurai clans, it was common for the victor to allow the vanquished a chance to save face. The idea being that, on the one hand, the victor looks like...well...a douche, if he chooses to humiliate his opponent (or in football terms, kick a player when he's down, sound familiar?) and the defeated side would not be forced into seeking revenge if he were shown the respect that a worthy opponent should be show.
Agreed, it might be a little late for this particular rivalry, but then one must wonder, has Por Que and co done anything to deserve the respect that the Pasillo was supposed to represent? There would have to be a difference of 16 points or more for all this to be an issue but it isnt law is it?
They have kicked,dived, abused,insulted even Pep Guardiola who has shown nothing but respect towards Madrid. To the question of Pep's humility, certain Madridstas claim that his humility is fake. To them I can only say, save your theories...untill a time comes when that is fact. And even then I would have to question it considering all that Por Que has done to provoke a reaction.
If Madrid didnt stick around when we won the Supercopa, although we did show them that courtesy when they won the Copa Del Rey (and rightly so) then who are we to blame them? who are we, as fans of the rivals to question their morals? But then also, a line was drawn wasn't it? Like all the other incidents that occurred. A line was indeed, drawn. We didn't draw that line but it is our choice whether to accept it or not.
I would agree with Pep, if when the clasico arrives,and we find ourselves 16 pts down, if he asks our players to stand in line and congratulate the winners then we should. If he feels that this is a tradition that should continue no matter the circumstances. Then I would blindly agree because I believe our illustrious manager is more than just a coach/manager. Why? Because to me personally, Pep Guardiola is an inspiration the kinds of which the world does not see often. To me, children have a worthy example who's footsteps to follow in.Somebody to follow and that whether you agree or not is much much more than just the sport. For that reason alone, any number of losses will never see me lose respect for the man.
Call me naive and I would gladly agree. I hope to stay one for ever more.
If, however, Pep and the players refuse to congratulate Madrid for their league win. Would you really find it in yourself to argue against that? In all likelihood, Barca will not allow themselves to get to that level. My confidence in the team beating Madrid in the Cam Nou, comprehensively even, is at an all time high. Also, I doubt Barca will find themselves 16 points short. Not because of form, or formations or tactics or peripheral tensions or any of that but .Pride. The players dont question their ability and blindly believe that they are the better team wherever the league trophy is next year so then why or rather, how can we doubt them? Again that isn't overconfidence from the players but something that shows itself through the amplification of their abilities/skills whenever they play against Madrid. Something, we as fans would never understand unless one of you find yourselves in the first team playing against Madrid. That is also, not a license for us to mock the opposition or brag about how we are better. Rather, it is a time for us to use caution and like Pep, let the game do the talking and may the best team win (you are allowed to wish and pray that Barca are the better team).
So, finally, Pasillo? or not? what do you think?