Superiority complex. English Premier League. In the past few years, the two phrases have become all but synonymous in the minds of most level-headed football fans. In spite of the media frenzy that surrounds the Premier League and even the most monotonous of its matches, it turns out that football is actually played in the rest of Europe, and indeed in the rest of the world. If you're an avid Premier League watcher and disciple of BSkyB's dreadful Sky Sports coverage, that last line might come as a surprise, but it's true! There are a whole host of leagues in mainland Europe and shock horror, some of them are quite good, maybe even better than the Premier League.
Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly given the influence of vast swathes of money, every player that swaps one of these leagues for a switch to the Premier League can usually be found eulogising about the superb quality and entertainment offered by the football in their new homeland. So much so, that they usually buy into the media hype and start sounding awfully stupid.
Example #56392: Jesus Navas
In two months, FC Barcelona will square off against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. Of course, the two teams met at the same stage last season and the Blaugrana emerged victorious. Comfortably. Over both legs.
Sure, there were worrying moments for Barça across the 180 minutes of football, but they were just that: moments. Their frequency was far outweighed by our periods of outright dominance, and when you consider that our dominance was rammed home in emphatic fashion as Dani Alves (our right-back) nutmegged Joe Hart (their goalkeeper), the tie really wasn't as close as some EPL-fanatics might make out.
Still, it's a new season so let's give them the benefit of the doubt and see what Jesus Navas has to say:
"I think it's going to be extremely evenly-matched"
Sounds about right, we're both good teams after all. Good start Jesus.
"It will be very different"
Probably. We've added Luis Suarez and shored up our defense while you've crippled your squad depth by placing far too much faith in an injury-prone Sergio Aguero.
"Last year's tie was decided by one-off moments"
Hmm, yeah, OK. If you call Lionel Messi playing well a one-off then sure. Oh, and we beat you convincingly twice. Not once. Twice.
"I think we have to remain focused at all times, not giving them any respite and going all out in attack"
*Checks the archive*
*Digs out old Jesus Navas interview ahead of last year's tie*
"The one thing we must do is play with high pressure and high tempo" - Jesus Navas, Feb 2014
You heard it here first folks! This year's tie will be different from last year's tie, because City are going to play in exactly the same way. Makes perfect sense really, thanks Jesus!
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