Monday, February 04, 2008

And Then There Were Six

The gap between Barca and Real is down to six points, after Barca's way-too-difficult-given-the-circumstances win against Osasuna and Real's slip up against Almería. I watched the Barca game and though the pitch was wet, and it was raining cats and dogs, and Osasuna played a smart tactical game, it shouldn't have gone to the 88th minute. Thank God for Xavi is all I'll say (by the way, how many times have the relatively unheralded Xavi and Iniesta saved Barca's ass in the last three years? Just asking). Anyway here's Phil Ball's roundup on the weekend in Spain, containing an interesting nugget on Makelele.
I was once in the Bernabéu when Makelele was playing for Madrid a few years ago. At one point, the destroyer sine qua non of the football world passed a ball to the left that was intercepted by an opponent. The crowd groaned and I turned to my friend from Madrid. 'Why are they groaning at him?' I asked. 'Look' replied my friend, 'Mak's a great player, but he gives the ball away too much - really.' That was a strange comment, since any observation of Makelele since he went to Chelsea would be quite the opposite. He robs it, then passes it a few yards, always with intent, but always keeping it simple. It's been a joy to behold, and it's been the shield that has made John Terry into the defender he is. But in Spain, players had got the measure of him, and had tried to turn the tables on him by doing to him what he did unto others. Effective though he was, his lack of passing creativity did for him in the end, and he was sold on. That's why Diarrà won't last. Real Madrid might gain possession through him, but they cannot trust him to distribute the ball, even simply.

Funny, I thought he was sold on because he was earning one fifth of players like Beckham and wasn't deemed an attacking enough option for the Galactico squad Madird had conjured up in those days. Instructive how it took Real four years to win any trophy after he left, is it not?


AKS said...

Barca missed chances but more importantly they lacked flair. This is Barcelona FFS, they might as well not play, if they aren't going to do so with flair.

This will surely be of concern for Rijkaard, which is perhaps why he's trying to prise the excellent and imaginative Alexander Hleb away from Arsenal. Hleb has been in scintillating form this season and has developed a formidable partnership with Fabregas and Mathieu 'Gattuso' Flamini.

Then again Rjikaard may just be preping us for a 'flair-less' Barca with Mourinho allegedly set to take over in the summer.

Ahsan said...

well the absence in flair comes in large part from (a) messi's yet-to-100% recovery fron injury, (b) ronaldinho becoming fat and lazy and useless, (c) eto'o playing in the african nations cup, (d) teams playing barca tighter and running the risk of a swift counterattack which isn't all that likely because barca aren't a particularly quick team, and (e) (in this case only) the rain and wet pitch.

i swear to god, if mourinho comes to barca, i'm going to have one of my famous hissy-fits.

naqiya said...

ahsan can you make the blog so we can search for things? i was looking for a video one of you posted where whatshisname was scratching himself on tv but general it would make it easier to get to some of the older posts you have written!

Ahsan said...


you *can* search the blog. on the top left corner, you'll see a search box. type in the key word(s) and then click on "search blog". in any event, here's the ball-scratching video:

AKS said...

Shouldn't Deco also be on that list for being over the hill?

Ahsan said...

i'd say the problem with deco would be a bit of over-the-hillness and a bit of i-have-an-attitude-problemness