I hate Barcelona. You may be thinking these are the words of a jealous man who has seen them rip apart countless amounts of teams not just in La Liga but the Champions League too. However this is not the case. I honestly believe Barcelona are the dullest team in the world. I would be much happier with a season ticket at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium than sit in the Nou Camp 19 times a year. Of course my friends think I’m mental. The amount of times I’ve been called a mug makes me wonder why I don’t make a dishwasher my permanent accommodation. I do realise by publishing this view on a grander scale you will indeed think the same as my peers so let me just explain why I hold this solitary viewpoint.
On February 16th I witnessed a fantastic game between Arsenal and Barcelona. But it was only made such a great spectacle due to the Gunners superb comeback. Had Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin not scored it would have been a lacklustre second half with countless amounts of stupid fouls and constant dispossession. Even Barca’s goal failed to impress. They have a knack of cutting through the defence at will fooling the opposition into believing offside should be called before slotting in behind the keeper. Big deal. Most of their goals come from this technique. I don’t want to see that. Yes, it requires a lot of skill to execute perfectly but who cares? I’ve seen it once and it was lovely but I don’t want to see it all the time. Give me spectacular free-kicks, a corner that actually has me believing a goal is forthcoming and some scandal. I mean, The Rolling Stones didn’t just get to the top based on guitar work.
I also have a qualm with the way Barcelona play. Whilst the world marvels at the fabulous 1000 touches they take before carving out an opportunity I sit there bored silly. Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass. On paper it’s like watching cement dry and it’s exactly the same on grass. Admittedly you do get the eventual end product of a killer chip or ANOTHER through ball which is coolly slotted home but there’s just an excessive amount of unnecessary build-up play, like passing along the back four in order to pick out Xavi or Iniesta and if that fails they’ll keep possession and pass to Victor Valdes. That leads to teams getting so annoyed they clash with the player on the ball and then we see further cycles of passing. As if I haven’t seen enough of that.
If Barcelona didn’t have Lionel Messi then a lot more people would start to realise how tedious their football is. Messi makes the average fan forget the utter dross leading up to the amazing finish. Take Spain’s World Cup campaign for example. Despite the squad virtually being Barcelona, this dynamic free-scoring menace, they began by losing to Switzerland before grinding out 1-0 wins in every single round afterwards. Messi himself couldn’t produce his best work in the Argentina team either. It’s a combination that works for Barcelona so well because of the old rule that opposites attract. Messi is exciting and the style of play from Spain is dull. They take their time to lay the chance on a plate for Messi and he produces something out of the top drawer which makes the world freeze.
It also doesn’t help that the Spanish league is a two-horse race and has been for years. The only game worth watching is El Clasico because it’s the only one that actually provides a contest. The rest of the fixtures are more repetitive than Manchester City breaking their record transfer fee. Barcelona will win, they’ll pass their way into the six-yard box and produce a tidy finish to send the crowd berserk. Where’s the variety? At least with Arsenal you get to see a free-kick lashed in by van Persie and mazy runs from Theo Walcott. When Cristiano Ronaldo graced the Premier League he made his name by being selfish. It’s not a bad thing. His free-kick against Portsmouth would never have happened had he been courteous and let Wayne Rooney take it. He also tries different things, something Barcelona fail to deliver.
I’ll admit they are probably the best team in the world as the squad is an unbelievable set of individuals. Going to a game in the Nou Camp is an idea that excites me but I couldn’t attend on a regular basis. The atmosphere would be spectacular to taste and the goals a treat to behold but with everything in life too much of a good thing can be unbeneficial. If I wanted to know what I was going to get I’d go to a concert. As entertainment they’re good to go and see for a game or two, as a live sporting event they’re the worst team on the planet.