I fear for soccer

I fear for soccer. I fear for soccer as long as Barca plays like it played today. To cast aside a proud Bayern, 4 times CL winner, like an irritating gnat with a contemptuous flick of the wrist. At moments of the match, I had the irrational thought that Pep Guardiola would like Ashoka, the great Indian emperor after the Kalinga war, survey the carnage and have an epiphany: “Lord, what have I done?”
But Guardiola looked like he wanted Howard Webb’s head on a platter after the referee turned down Messi’s pleas for a penalty when brought down by Oddo. All thoughts of a second life of ceasefires and diplomacy evaporated. By the time the first half finished, Barca were up four goals. 4, 6, or 20. It would have made no difference. The scoreboard could have been a random number generator and it still would have made perfect sense. Bayern were outclassed.
It must have been after Eto’o’s goal that Bayern fell in love with its captors as it understood Barca’s mission. The entire second half was entirely played in a small patch of land before Butt. And Messi, Eto’o, Henry, Iniesta, and Xavi proved to be exemplary advocates of that mission. We call it the Stockholm Syndrome. Luca Toni could have been the loneliest human being on the earth. Franck Ribery, the most futile. They both could have exited the stadium, gone to a pub, commiserated over a keg of lager, while watching the game on Setanta and would not have been missed an iota.
If Cristiano Ronaldo wanted any affirmation of why he wanted to join Real, this would be the match he would point to. To go mano a mano with Messi. To stop Barca in their tracks, is now the dream of every player worth their salt.

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