SANTANDER, SPAIN - MARCH 11: Lionel Messi (R) of Barcelona celebrates with Xavi Hernandez (L) after scoring his team's 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Real Racing Club and Barcelona at El Sardinero on March 11, 2012 in Santander, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Untitled. Sounds weird right? Yes, but I cannot help it. I had planned to write this article 2 weeks back. My intention was to get the opinions and views of a few fellow Cules , but in a week many things have changed. It’s like the world has flipped around, time has stopped , light has become dark and darkness doesn’t seem to go away. It all started at the Stamford Bridge, the first step with our loss to Chelsea. This was not that heart breaking as we were going to face Madrid the coming Saturday and a new trend of #A1 could have started. This was the first time Barca went in as favourites to win the Clasico (Remember the Manita when the Special one was going to upset us?). We lost again. Now Champions League mode on. Whatever people say , in my opinion there was only one mistake we committed in that Match - the Ramires Goal, one slip up ( Torres goal cannot be a mistake as we were in desperation mode). But it's not important now and congrats to you Chelsea. The worst news, however, was given out on Friday, when Pep announced he's leaving Barca. I cannot say that this was never ever going to happen, but as last two years my hopes were that it will be next year. I am really happy for Tito though. I wish him all the best and for a fact we all know that he had a huge role to play in Barcelona’s Gaurdiola Era.
Now coming back to what I wanted to write. Everybody is entitled to their opinions and no one can be judged wrong for their view. That’s why I decided to select a few cules and get to know what they feel about certain aspects of this club. And for that I would like to thank @FabianBlaugrana, @KevNGxx, @paolaBee, @Loving_Football, @adismith13, @danielleblalock, @Matt_FCB, @ianiketmandal for their help. This would not have been possible without you guys.
1. Which is the better League in your Opinion? The Liga or EPL?
I got mixed opinions on this one. Many choose Liga as it is technically more advanced than the EPL. The ones who rate the EPL higher than the Liga had a valid point though. As much as we say technically Liga is stronger the difference between the second and third placed club is huge. My only argument here is that if you check the title holders in the past 5 years both leagues have only 2 champions. That says it all. The only thing lacking in Liga is the funds and marketing. Once that is done I believe that worldwide the Liga will be given the respect it deserves.
2. Who according to you is the most important player in the team?
No double guesses on this one. Messi wins it here also. Runners up: Xavi and Puyol. No surprise there also. I was expecting Valdes, Iniesta, Busquets too in the list at least. Last season everyone would have voted for Messi, Villa, Xavi, Pedro... (Midfielders and Forwards). This season is different, more than our forwards our defense has been called into action. Speaking of defense Mascherano cannot be ignored. A huge lifeline he has been to us.
3. Tello or Cuenca... What's you call?
Obviously, Cuenca wins without any doubt. But this would have been different if Tello's left wing curling shot phase would have lasted longer. Due to that many have started using the word selfish. A bit harsh in my opinion. Tello is ‘BOLT’; his job is to give us directness which we lacked. That worked well until the defenders realized how to stop him. The guy needs experience, and if he plays the offside trap very well, nobody can dare catch him and his shooting is quite decent. Give him time guys, he will be good.
4. The next Xavi: One of our biggest signings Fàbregas or our Masia Boy Thiago
Cesc, Thiago, … Thiago, Cesc……… a tie?? No, not this time, Thiago wins it. Read the question once again, it says who is close to being the next Xavi and not who is better. The kid's going through a little hard luck this season, having started out brightly and scoring his first goal against Villareal. Speaking of Cesc, he is not meant to be the next Xavi. Cesc is Cesc, SIMPLE. He has his own unique qualities which are way different than that of Xavi. He cannot build the passing orchestra alone, but he can sure give a beautiful ending by putting the ball in the back of the net.
5. Keita - Once considered a super sub, not so much now. What's your say?
Keita the super sub; used to hear that a lot. You can blame this one on Tello for taking his title. Jokes apart, this guy is solid. A guy which has helped us a lot , not only defensively but also ahead. I still remember his goal against Gijón (2 – 1). That was the first time I started believing that the team can do well with 10 men, and fortunately or unfortunately we have witnessed a lot of 10-man games this season.
6. Can Adriano be considered as a future LB for the team?
The only obstacle between him and the first team permanently is his availability. Very injury prone but does not let us down on the pitch. Has good speed, crosses well and can also shoot well. A little less confident when it comes to playing under pressure, but definitely a good asset to have.
7. Do you support the inclusion of the Qatar foundation as a sponsor?
When I asked this question, I was expecting a a lot of disappointment, but surprisingly many agreed with me. Yes, I am not against the Qatar sponsor. It is time to face the reality guys, we need funds. Without funds, we will not be able to progress. We will not be able to maintain the high standards we have set for ourselves. Player wages, medical staff, training equipment etc. a lot of stuff which cannot be avoided or compromised on. I agree, I would love UNICEF to stay ahead, the old jersey did give a slight humble and pleasing touch, but what’s the use of sticking to that if we cannot provide top class facilities? This wouldn’t have made a difference for maybe a year or so but in the long run, the effects will be seen.
8. Does the 3 defender lineup worry you?
Minus the last week everyone agreed. For teams who park the bus, 3 defenders, or else 4 (keeping it simple). The main thing is sticking to ideals. One very good point I read yesterday about the what-if factor which we all say when our tiki-taka is not working: against Chelsea and Madrid our passing was starting to be termed as over-exaggerated. One question, what is plan B and plan C? If they park the bus should we keep on shooting? If yes, then how can a 10 man defence not block a long range shot? And what is the guarantee of not being exposed on counters? Think about it, teams who change their style of playing completely are less likely to succeed than if they stick to their style. Remember the 3 defender initial phase; being exposed on the flanks, why was that happening? For a brief time Pep started using the counter game, not to change the style but to improve. That phase was very nerve-wracking, watching the opposite team attack and cross a lot. We need to evolve, not change completely. I am proud that we stick to our ideals but there is no doubt we need to find a solution to Parking the Bus teams. Tello and Cuenca will have a huge role to play in that and I wish them all the best.
9. Your Definition of Peptimism.
A new dictionary should be introduced which only contains Pepilosophy (Peps Philosophy). One thing I have learnt from this man is that one must always stick to one's roots, always be down to earth, and learn to lose like a man and not a coward. Whenever we have lost he has always congratulated the opposition. There are times when we also don’t deserve to win and we end up grabbing the victory. That happens and will continue to happen, sometimes in our favour, sometimes against us. Be humble and be grateful, always. He has always indirectly hinted that now we are winning, but there will be times when we won’t. Never back down or give up. The reason one falls is so that he learns to get up. Thank you Pep, for everything you have given and taught us. Wherever you go (and I wish it is back to Barca ) I wish you all the luck in the world.