Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Just got done with watching the Barcelona-Lyon game (3-0 to Barca, in case you were wondering). Here are some observations:

1. Don't ever pay $8 to watch their live streaming feed. I had about 55 minutes of football and 35 minutes of "buffering," "waiting," and "connecting." I also conspired to miss the first two goals, and caught them on replay when, as you all know, it's never the same. Couple that with the fact that the commentator kept inexplicably saying Barca won the 2005 Champions League (it was 2006 bro - not that long ago), and it made for quite underwhelming viewing. Well, as underwhelming as a 3-0 win for your team can be, anyway.

2. People who are worried about Henry not fitting need not. Of all the big name European teams, Barca probably fit Henry's talents best. Ronaldinho and Messi link up with him beautifully, and pretty much the entire team is technically gifted and can play one-touch football if and when they choose. Of course when Eto'o comes back, all bets are off. Contrary to Frank Rijkaard's public pronouncements, there is no space for all four of them - even if they all have different talents and roles. The only plausible reason I can think of for not getting rid of one of them is injuries: both Eto'o and Messi have missed considerable chunks of the last couple of seasons, and if it happens again in March or April, Henry's addition could be priceless. But if all of them remain fit? Watch out for some fireworks. Speaking of which...

3. Ronaldinho got substituted again and he didn't look ecstatic about it. Clearly all is not well at the Camp Nou. Rumors of problems between Ronaldinho and Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Rijkaard, and Eto'o and Rijkaard persist. Unconfirmed reports suggested that Rijkaard was told after their last 0-0 draw that he had three games to keep his job. Something is going to go down soon, I feel. I know this may sound heretical, but might Barca be better off without Ronaldinho? He would command an astronomical fee in the transfer market, and could allow Barca to shore up its defense (Marquez/Puyol/Thuram are not a Champions League-winning central defense, I'm sorry) as well as ease tensions in the locker room.

4. The best move in the game didn't result in a goal. Words won't do it justice, so I won't bother trying to describe it. All I'll say is: wait a couple of days, and then search "Ronaldinho Xavi Messi Lyon" on YouTube.

5. What the hell is wrong with Lyon? They look awfully uninspiring, and certainly bore no resemblance to six-time defending Ligue 1 champions. Yes they lost a lot of talent in the summer, but they never threatened a notoriously shaky Barca defense and gave the ball away much too easily in midfield. Juninho had three free kicks in his range but went way over the bar once and hit the wall twice. It is naturally difficult to make assertions on the basis of one game (and that too away to one of Europe's best sides), but if Lyon play like this, they aren't making it past this round.

6. Every game I watch Messi, I fall in love just that little bit more. It's not just skill level that is astounding. What is truly amazing is his sense of balance. Maybe it's his short stature (Tendulkar and Iverson are two other short superstars who have extraordinary balance on their feet in their respective sports) but he always finds a way to keep going and not go to ground despite shoves, tugs on his jersey and general foul play. He is truly, truly a natural with the ball at his feet. Some great athletes - Duncan, Nadal, Dravid - are constructed. Others, like Lara and Messi - still just twenty years old, remember - are simply born to do what they do. Thank God for that.


Anonymous said...

a good site for watching soccer

Ahsan said...

thanks anonymous!