I am headed to Southern California this afternoon for a few days on my way to Perth, Australia to get my next trip started to 8 new TCC destinations; Christmas Island, Cocos Island; Tasmania, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Chatham Islands, Cook Islands and Niue. I will have intermittent stops in Singapore, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and either Wellington or Christchurch. I still have several details to work out. That aside, I felt obligated to write a short take on yesterday’s awful Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Real Madrid because it was the ugliest and possibly the worst game I have ever seen, although I was quite happy with the result.
Yesterday’s fourth edition, this year, of “El Clasico” was simply ugly. It was the worst that soccer or football had to offer and to make matters worse, it was between two of the world’s biggest clubs in the world’s most famous rivalry. If you missed the game, you missed a ton of diving, poor challenges, bad calls by the referee and ugly defensive football played mainly in midfield. The match yesterday was an embarrassment to the world’s great game.
On the contrary you missed two incredible goals by the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, albeit versus a ten man defense. The second being an all time classic goal that resembled his countrymen Diego Maradona; it was that good. But aside from Messi’s greatness the rest of the game was marred by several awful things.
The thing that stands out in my mind the most was the amount of diving that took place in this game. Sad to say, Barcelona was the biggest culprit in this awful part of the game. Pedro, a good young striker for Barcelona, disgusted me with his dives and with the way he would have small contact with a Madrid player and then grasp his face writhing in apparent pain (below). The replays confirmed that there was no contact at all and he comes off looking like a total fraud. The same is true with Sergio Busquets. He did the same thing a few times and it was embarrassing to watch.
The call of the game that everyone in Spain will be talking about for years was Real Madrid’s Pepe receiving a straight red card (below) for his challenge on Dani Alves. There is no doubt it should have been a yellow card and there was clearly some hard contact but I honestly don’t think he should have been sent off. There was a play later in the game when Emmanuel Adebayor shoved Pedro in the face deliberately that was much more deserving of a red card than what Pepe did. I do believe it was a bad call even though it benefitted my team.
The only benefit to Pepe getting sent off was in enraged Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who everyone outside of Madrid hates, and he got ejected from the pitch as well and looked sulking in his seat the rest of the game before his post game tirade against the conspiracy of the refereeing. He in fact, along with frohawk haired Cristiano Ronaldo who was completely absent from this game, called Barcelona’s titles in 2009 and potentially this year; marred by scandal by referee calls. Give me a break!
This game is the reason that American people don’t like soccer. It is because you get these guys essentially bitching and whining about everything. They fall or dive whenever there seems to be any minimal contact. Acting like they were shot by a gun and as soon as the referee makes their decision, they miraculously recover. Where is the toughness?!
Dani Alves was another good example yesterday and I love Dani. However, on the play in question where Pepe got sent off (above), he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher and as soon as he got off the field and Pepe was gone, he ran back on and played like nothing had happened.
The coaches are no better and when Guardiola and Mourinho (below) are involved it seems to get even worse. The way they dress and behave turn many Americans off. They wear skinny ties, wear fancy European threads and wear little Armani scarves. I understand it’s cultural but it’s hard for many American’s to take that seriously. They act so elitist and dress so chic that when they whine and bitch about every single call and have these awful press conferences, it makes you want to throw up. They look and act so trite and petty that it makes you want to turn the channel and look for midget wrestling or something!
It’s hard to blame the referee for this game because there was so much going on. I will say however, that I believe there should be more referee’s for these games because there is too much going on for one man to make every call. Many times he is out of place and/or far away. It is impossible to get every call correct. Perhaps even institute replay for big calls such as penalties and red cards. Soccer purists will surely argue these ideas but hey, it has worked in baseball and football in the US, so why not soccer too. The idea is to get the call right, so utilize the technology available to do just that. But this diving has to stop.
It is enraging to watch and has been like this for years. The World Cup was sullied by these same two things in 2010, aside from the vuvuzelas. There is too much diving and too many bad calls and that takes away from the beautiful game and turns many fans off. I was truly disgusted watching the game yesterday. I am, of course happy with the result and look forward to the second leg next week but I just hope it’s not more of the same.