Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jedi Messi Slays Real Madrid

In the first leg of this year's Champion's League semi-finals, and the third meeting between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in less than three weeks, yesterday the Blaugrana avenged their Copa Del Rey loss to Real Madrid last week by humiliating the Royalists 2 - 0 in front of their home fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It was a wonderful outcome for Barcelona fans, full of incredible moments and images:  Madrid defender Pepe sent off in the 61st minute for a brutal challenge on Dani Alves that clipped the Barca man in the ankle and literally sent him spinning 360 degrees in the air, before a full-body slam onto the turf; Madrid boss Jose Mourinho also sent off for his mocking, sarcastic applause of the Referee's actions, leaving him stranded in the stands behind an orange bar gate that  ironically resembled prison bars, frantically scribbling notes to this assistants; and above all, two more magical goals by the sublime Messi Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight of Football, giving FC Barcelona a clear advantage heading into their final encounter with Real Madrid in the second and final leg of the Champions League Semi-Finals.

For the fifth match in a row, and the third El Clasico under Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid again found itself down to ten men against the talented Catalans.  With a man advantage, it was only a matter of time until Barca found the back of then net.  In the 76th minute Barca substitute Ibrahim Afellay sent a beautiful cross from the right wing touch-line, which Lionel Messi met in mid-air immediately in front of the Madrid goal with a right-footed one-touch punch that sent the ball in for Barcelona's first goal.  Then, in the 86th minute, Messi singlehandedly carried the ball from mid field, weaving his way through the Madrid defense in an amazing display of ball control and attacking prowess, beating the entire Madrid defense by himself  before slotting the ball past Iker Casillas with a wide shot that rolled past the Madrid Keeper's outstreched hands, for the second goal of the night. 

After the match, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho went on a public rant, accusing UEFA of blatant favoritism for Barcelona, saying (among other delusional statements):  "I don't know if it's the UNICEF publicity or the friendship of Villar at UEFA, where he is vice president, I don't know if it's because they are so nice, but they have got great power. The rest of us have no chance."

Given this unfounded verbal provocation, today FC Barcelona has released the following club statement: 

"Barca's legal department will study the declarations made by Jose Mourinho following his team's 0-2 defeat at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night to determine whether to refer them to UEFA.  In the post match press conference, Jose Mourinho severely criticized the referee Herr Stark and insinuated that UEFA treated Barca favorably. The club's legal department are now studying whether to take his remarks to the UEFA disciplinary Commission."

In related news, FIFA Presidential candidate Bin Hammam also weighed in on the controversy, saying "It is up to Jose Mourinho what he thinks. But I believe the game was excellent and, from what I hear, a very entertaining game."  Asked if there was a conspiracy from referees, or governing bodies, in favour of Barcelona, Bin Hammam replied: "Not at this level of competition, no. I don't think so."

It is clear to this fan that (1) Pepe's ejection for spinning Alves around in the air was completely justified; (2) Mourinho's mocking of the referee was also an actionable offense under the rules of Association Football; (3) Mourinho's post-game rant was deleusional, unjustified, and an indication of the clear frustration he has over being bested time and again by FC Barcelona, the Greatest Football Team on the Planet. 

Madrid now travel's to Camp Nou for the final leg of the Semi-Finals with a huge, two-goal handicap.  Unless Madrid can produce a miracle in front of the Barca faithful-- not very likely-- then it is beginning to look like it will be FC Barcelona against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final this year, in a repeat of the 2009 final.

As for Real Madrid, they can enjoy their Copa del Rey victory from last week, because it is beginning to look like it is the only joy they will get from El Clasico this year, as FC Barcelona is now undisputedly on-track to claim both the Spanish League Championship, as well as the European Championship.

Trophies pending.