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Força Barça 101

Marcela Berrios | Friday, April 20, 2007

If you’ve been on YouTube since Wednesday replaying Messi’s goal against Getafe, maybe you love Barcelona soccer as much as me. No, wait. I doubt you come close, but it’s a start.

If tears flooded your eyes in solidarity with Eto’o when he was booed at Zaragoza for his skin, then you’re off to a very good start.

If your favorite World Cup moments were the sight of Deco and Gio sitting together on the sidelines while their teams ripped each other apart during the Portugal-Netherlands game, or Maradona’s Messi chants from the stands, we might be on the same page and you may appreciate my reflections on the greatest team in the history of soccer:

1. Is it wrong to find a group of soccer players covered in sweat, jumping on each other and kissing as they celebrate a goal, absolutely adorable? Is this the equivalent of men’s fascination with lesbians? I don’t know. I do know that Ronaldinho alone is wonderful. Messi alone is wonderful too. Put Ronaldinho and Messi together, however, and the wonderfulness explodes.

2. Why won’t coach Rijkaard let Saviola play more? I can understand Saviola’s mammoth paycheck could create rivalries within the team – but benching him can’t be the solution. My heart weeps when I see his youth and skill squandered. Rijkaard, you’re killing a mockingbird!

3. While we’re on Rijkaard’s questionable coaching decisions, let’s talk about his defense. Coach, off the top of my head, I can name a dozen other goalkeepers to fill Valdes’ clown shoes. Give me someone along the lines of Real Madrid’s Casillas, and Valdes can be a fantastic understudy.

4. If Rijkaard wants to keep Puyol on the field, he needs to offset the captain’s retirement age with an impenetrable defense. What does he do instead? He calls Marquez. Mexico calls him the Aztec Kaiser. Mexico, that’s laughable.

5. Marquez is maliciously aggressive. He’s the foil to Ronaldinho’s clean game. He’s incompetent too, allowing the other teams to come near Valdes when “leave it to Valdes” is the shortest way to defeat, followed closely by “leave it to Marquez.”

6. Is it sad that I only wake up every morning because I know it brings me one day closer to the next Real Madrid-Barcelona game? No, it’s not sad because Barcelona is “més que un club.”