Thursday, May 28, 2009

Half time in Rome

It's five a.m. and, very much contrary to my usual sleeping rhythms, I'm awake. For good reason though - it's the European Champions League final. Barcelona v Manchester United.

I haven't been following European football all that closely of late, due to the advent of the A-League and my increasing (but completely natural and healthy) obsession with Adelaide United. But I've always considered myself a Barca fan, and the way this match is going reminds me what I like so much about the Catalans. They play great football, and they genuinely try to play a beautiful game.

Man U are a great side as well, but the way they play isn't on the same level as Barcelona. They seem to have a philosophy of 'get it to Ronaldo and we'll see what happens.' Barca, on the other hand, play as complete unit. You'll find plenty of commentators frothing about the style and sexiness of their play, so I'll try not to.

As I see it, this game is the best team in the world versus the best player in the world. I don't want to jinx the final result but I'm hoping that the best team pulls through.

Then I'm going back to sleep. If only I didn't have to work today.


john said...

Ah you'll be happy then Bill

My thought was that Man U won everything it would build up pressure to change the EPL formula...

Bill said...

Very much so John! The second half was all Barca, incredible standard of play given the reputation cup finals have for being cagey affairs.

There were no passengers in the Barcelona side. I've never seen an English team play like that (Arsenal at their peak would be the closest). This Barcelona side would have to be one of the best of all time.

It begs the question, what do clubs like Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool have to do to reach that level? They've got the money and the resources to buy the best players in the world but they are very obviously a step behind.

The difference is that Barcelona have a clear philosophy for playing the game, and that players are brought in to fit that structure (not just because they're the best players going around). As Craig Fostinho de Santos mentioned in his post-match comments, Barca got rid of two of the best players in the world in Ronaldinho and Deco, and didn't suffer as a result.

Think of how well Man U would do if they played the whole season without Rooney & Ronaldo. By their standards, they'd struggle big time.

The players at Barca fit the system rather than the team being built around superstar players, which we see way too often at other clubs. It's incredible that in this day and age that 8 of the 13 players that Barca fielded came from the club's academy, with most of them being locals.

Freddy said...

Saw Milan - Manchester Utd the other night and it reminded me of this game except that Utd were able to fight back. They just didn't have it in Rome.