Fin De Ciclo: Part....Oh, shut up, Xoel!
There, I said it for you.
The 2013-14 La Liga season has been a roller coaster ride. It's been years since we've seen so many ups and downs, back and forths, and so many scenarios for three teams to win the La Liga title.
So now what? It's simple.
Barcelona controls its own destiny. If they win on the road against Elche this weekend, and defeat Atletico Madrid in the final match of the season, El Blaugrana will be crowned champions of Spain for the 23rd time in its glorious history.
While I am happy that Barcelona now has a shot of winning La Liga, I cannot help but feel that the league title will not so much be earned as much as it fell into Barça's hands.
After Barcelona's loss to Valladolid in March, I said this in my post-match article: "If Barcelona somehow comes back to win the Liga title, I'm sorry, but if that happens, I will say it was more Real Madrid or Altetico Madrid that lost La Liga than Barcelona winning it."
I stand by my statement.
Yes, I will be happy that Barcelona are champions, but I won't say it's because they completely deserved it. This season has been a battle royal between Atleti, Madrid, and Barça, and if Barcelona comes out the winner, it's because they were the ones that barely survived-not because they were necessarily the best team in Spain for 2013-14. Then again, in football, the "best" team doesn't always win.
And as we have seen these past few days, Madrid and Atletico have dropped points to be in a scenario were they can say they "lost" La Liga. Barça did the same as well. Now, Atleti just needs four points to win the Liga, while Barça needs to win both games left to lift the trophy.
Now, the Barcelona players need to be in complete beast mode. Tunnel-vision, boys. No more excuses. The football gods (and Valladolid) have given you a
second, third, fourth...eighth opportunity to win La Liga.
We all know the "Fin De Ciclo" is here for this 2008-14 FC Barcelona era. But what better way to bookend the era with a title. The time has come to show the football world one last run at greatness, and that can be done with these last two games of the Liga season.
The new era will come soon enough. For now, all focus is still on this season, and this era's last run toward a title.
While many are already looking forward to the final "championship game" of the Liga season against Atletico Madrid, let's not overlook Elche. I'm not saying Elche is Bayern Munich, but as we have seen this La Liga season, anything is possible. That being said, I fully expect Barcelona to handle Elche.
I fully expect the Camp Nou to be filled with 98,000 fans, cheering on Barcelona as they take on Atletico Madrid in the final game of the season. It's going to be intense, and for once for goodness sake, the Camp Nou crowd needs to step it up and be loud. We've see how great the Atleti fans are at the Vicente Calderon. Let's see the Camp Nou crowd do its best Calderon impression-at least try to.
Regardless if Barcelona wins La Liga, Tata Martino will certainly be gone as Barcelona manager. My hope is that Tata-whose motivational methods have not worked all season-will somehow, someway inspire his players to do whatever it takes to win La Liga. Tata has nothing to lose and he knows that. Time to do your best managerial job this season, Tata-even better than the Manchester City games.
As for the players, if they don't get inspired by their manager, then go out there and win La Liga for yourselves. Don't do it for Tata then. Do it for your own motives, for pride, for your teammates, for your club and their fans.
I don't want to hear excuses about the defense, or the rotation, or Tata, or whatever. Barcelona controls its own destiny and there are two tough games left. That's it, and that's all that matters! It's not going to be easy, but winning a championship never is. This team is fully capable of winning these last two games. All Culés want to see heart, passion, and all-out effort from the players these next two games. No complaining, no whining, etc.
No. More. Excuses.
For me, what I wish to see is Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes lift the Liga championship trophy one last time at the Camp Nou with both of them stating, "This is for you, Tito!"
I hope my wish comes true. If it doesn't, that's OK. It wasn't meant to be. But if it does happen, tears of happiness will be shed by all Culés as El Capita and VV leave the club as champions one last time, and Tito gets another deserving tribute.
The time has come to make one last run at a title.
Time to take this 2013-14 La Liga title.
Go out there and show the football world that despite falling down, and despite the current FC Barcelona era coming to an end, you went out a winner. You went out a champion.
Xoel, The Voice of els Culés
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