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FC Barcelona: My Slightly Opinionated Response to Barcelona Criticism

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Despite winning universal acclaim from managers, pundits and former players alike, there are still a select few who continue to criticise Barcelona. Like to see them say it to Puyol's face though...
Despite winning universal acclaim from managers, pundits and former players alike, there are still a select few who continue to criticise Barcelona. Like to see them say it to Puyol's face though...

Everyone has an opinion; that I cannot change. Some prefer FC Barcelona, others do not. I am not here to tell you what to like, and what you cannot. If you are a supporter of another team you may dislike FC Barcelona fans, I respect that.

My underlying issue with it?

I take issue at the attempt to tarnish the achievements of this historic FC Barcelona side, one of the best of all-time, in my opinion and that of more well-known and cited pundits. The constant references to refereeing decisions, conspiracies, the club’s expenditure and the supposed "arrogance" of its players.

I have grown to expect this from Real Madrid, and their poisonous leader, Jose Mourinho. But the tragic thing is that his opinions are slowly filtering through. FC Barcelona is often regarded as the team that dives, cheats and has a "holier than thou" attitude.

For instance, a common misconception of the Blaugrana is that their "mes que un club" slogan if you like, is a symbol of arrogance. FC Barcelona is "more than a club" as they say. For reasons some rival supporters choose to ignore, either through lack of knowledge, or because it suits them and their argument, the more profound meaning behind it.

A brief history lesson shows that, during the reign of Dictator General Franco, FC Barcelona’s stadium, the Camp Nou, was the only place Catalans were allowed to speak their own language. The club was seen as a place of solace for the oppressed locals. More recently, Barcelona were the only team that chose to display the name of a charity instead of a multi-billion dollar company. Even in the upcoming season, will still display the name of the children’s charity on the shirt.

Make no mistake, Barcelona will carry sponsorship on the front of the shirt next season, but the Qatar Foundation is still a far-cry from the corporate advertising that stain the front of other jerseys. After all, the Qatar Foundation doesn’t sell any kind of consumer good or product, let alone promote gambling.

Still the club will pay UNICEF a sum for the privilege of wearing their logo.

Next, we move onto the allegation that Barcelona’s success is derived from cheating.

Candena COPE is being sued for defamation, after making claims that FC Barcelona were "benefitting from the lenient nature of the doping testing officials". Real Madrid, and Jose Mourinho in particular, are very lucky not to be suffering the same fate for his infamous post-match rant, during which he claimed that Barca are benefitting from a conspiracy. According to Mr. Mourinho, UEFA and Michel Platini were actively participating to ensure FC Barcelona’s progress in the Champions League, and triumph in the world’s most prestigious club competition.

Comments that border on slander, and give fuel to the fire of opposition fans. Wild and unfounded speculations that implicate Pep Guardiola’s Champions League successes couldn’t have been attained under fair conditions.

I can understand that people will always feel aggrieved by the decisions of Massimo Busacca and Wolfgang Stark, in addition to the ineptitude shown by Tom Henning Ovrebo. What it cannot overshadow though, is the superiority ON THE PITCH that Pep Guardiola’s side have displayed for the past three years.

No team can boast a winning record against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side.

Jose Mourinho cannot, nor can Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsene Wenger is no different; neither is Guus Hiddink let alone any other active manager. Pep Guardiola’s trophy count stands at 10 from a possible 13.

That’s a staggering 77%. No-one in the history of World Football can boast such a record.

Ask people to name the best manager in recent times from a choice of three, and the results may surprise you. A recent poll in English magazine FourFourTwo has Guardiola leading on 40%, ahead of SAF on 39%, with Jose Mourinho lagging behind on 21%.

While next season is likely to be Guardiola’s last at Barcelona, he could leave with another sextuple, which would take his trophy count to 16 from 19. If he succeeds, and that’s a very big if, Guardiola will have won four consecutive La Liga titles, ensured that FC Barcelona become the first team to retain the Champions League (in its current format), and in all likelihood, leave this Blaugrana team as the greatest ever.

Though of course, this is solely down to the fact that some of our players dive...A common denominator in people’s dislike of Barcelona, is the "holier than thou" attitude they are perceived to display.

Flagrant hypocrisy is ignored at this point, as I have been lectured on the, granted, regrettably shameful antics of Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves. Real Madrid fans are quick to point the finger at Dani Alves when he possibly feigned contact in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, conveniently forgetting when Di Maria dived to win a penalty against Bilbao. On another occasion, Marcelo made a meal of a challenge by Peter Crouch to get the big man sent off.

The match against Real Madrid in the semi-final was pretty disgraceful, but if you watched almost any other FC Barcelona match, the diving is non-existent, and the surrounding of the ref? Well, it happens.

If you want to see real football you are meant to turn on the Premier League, and watch scenes like this:

But, of course, how dare those Spanish blokes surround the ref, attempting to change his mind...

The worst part of it all though, mainly involves irrational Arsenal FC Fans, not genuine and reasonable supporters. Before you start an outcry let me elaborate my definition of "irrational" first. We at Barca Blaugranes do have a self-confessed die hard Gooner amidst our ranks, Sabrina Dessipe. On occasion some FC Barcelona nutjob voices his/her disapproval from regularly featuring a Gooner on our site. But not to suggest that we are above being biased or opinionated; after all this blog is called Barca Blaugranes. However, Sabrina was enlisted to provide more of a balance to the Barca-leaning content we publish. If I publish a critical article on Cesc Fabregas, I do it from the perspective of a FC Barcelona fan, not of an Arsenal FC fan. You wouldn’t expect Barack Obama to hold a laudation at the Republican National Convention, now would you?

I don’t have a problem with critics or differentiating views at all, but some of the claims by these irrational are odd to say the least. When Xavi is asked a question in a press conference about the potential transfer of Cesc Fabregas, he gives the interviewer a reply. His answer may be something like "I would like to see Cesc play for Barcelona" or "it is inevitable that Cesc will end up here one day".

According to some, this is a blatant form of tapping up. As Xavi, Gerard Pique or whoever it is, cannot have an opinion, they should ignore questions posed to them. Pep Guardiola for instance has never commented on the Cesc transfer, in fact, he is very cautious with in his dealings with the media. He only grants press conferences, unlike some managers who can’t wait to give inflammatory interviews.

When he arrived though, he told us to "fasten our seatbelts" as it was to be a "wild ride". No-one anticipated it could be this wild, and as a result, the Catalan have their share of jealous enemies.

Such a waste, as one could just take a back seat, enjoy the football, and leave the criticism until it is actually warranted.

After all, this cannot last forever.

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