The S – Word

God lives in Catalonia

“Mega -Messi”, “Messi Masterclass”, “The Messiah”, “God lives in Catalonia!”

…are just some of the headlines that followed Barcelona’s 4-1 demolition of Arsenal last Tuesday – a crushing defeat that was orchestrated to perfection by one man, Lionel Messi. The Argentine scored all four goals at the Nou Camp, with a hat-trick in the first half. His goals, exquisite ones at that, gave the Catalan side a 6-3 aggregate win and a passage to a Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan.

Even I, here in my Pacific paradise, couldn’t miss the recent rhetoric about Messi and I was tempted to write about the FIFA World Player of the Year last month, following Barca’s 4-2 win against Real Zaragoza. Messi bagged another three in this game, becoming Barca’s first ever player to score consecutive hat tricks in La Liga, their previous outing being a 3-0 win against Valencia.

Leo has already won the Champions League trophy twice, he’s also got three La Liga titles to his name, a UEFA Super Cup, A FIFA Club World Cup and three Spanish Supercups. He is Maradona’s “successor” – words lauded by Diego himself, he won last season’s Ballon d’Or and he beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the title of World’s best player while he was at it. Oh, did I mention that he’s Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in the Champions League? Not bad. It’s hard to believe he is still only 22…  

And just in case the Zaragoza goals didn’t have you drooling into your keyboard enough, here’s Leo’s in action against Arsenal:

A class act, I think you’ll agree. As far as week’s go, I’d wager that perhaps it was one of Leo’s best. Even the staunch anti-Barcelona/pro-Real Madrid newspaper ‘Marca’ praised the diminutive number 10 for his footwork against Arsenal. Could his week get any better? It could and it did. Pep Guardiola’s men rounded off a superb week with a 2-0 win in ‘El Classico’ against Real Madrid. Messi overshadowed Ronaldo, he scored is 40th goal of the season and, with Barca’s second goal from Pedro Rodriguez, his team went three points clear at the top of La Liga. Marca, not surprisingly, weren’t too effusive with their praise this time…

There are some number 10’s who have always been special, who will always captivate the public and who will never be forgotten. The likes of Pele, Platini, Puskas, Maradona and Eusebio, to name but a few. For me, it’s really interesting to witness the ascent of Leo Messi, as he’s one of the few current players who could rank alongside the greatest number 10’s of all time. Perhaps, to some, he already does. If he takes Argentina to a World Cup final win this summer, then he’ll certainly be up there and the comparisons to Maradona will ring truer than ever. But for Barcelona fans I’m sure they couldn’t care less – as their shy, 5ft 7, Argentine number 10 is already the best in the world. God, as they are saying, already lives in Catalonia.

Mahalo for reading!

As a side note you may wonder why Manchester United’s game against Bayern Munich hasn’t had a mention. I think that the less said about that one, the better. Ahem…


Riddled with debt – United and the Glazers
January 29, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Premier League | Tags: , , , ,

I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be able to watch Manchester United as they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this Sunday. It won’t be live but it will be shown over here, so I will be careful to dodge the result before the game is replayed at 6pm Maui time.

Alex Ferguson is touting the fixture as ‘the biggest game of the season’. Normally he says these things when he is trying to psyche-out the opposition, with his well-known and effective penchant for mind games. But in this case he has got a point.

At the time of writing, Chelsea – who have a game in hand – are topping the Premier League by one point, Arsenal trail United by the same margin. The Gunners, as it happens, are unbeaten in 10 whereas United have had a pretty shoddy start to 2010.  We were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leeds United, experienced a worrying injury crisis and registered the worst run of January results we’ve had in a long time.

But far more troubling news came to light earlier this month when United, the ‘most popular club in the world’ was revealed to be unbelievably, unquestionably, unequivocally RIDDLED with debt.

Love United Hate Glazer

My sentiments exactly

Figures released a fortnight ago  illustrate the extent of it. United’s parent company, Red Football Joint Venture Ltd, are reported to be £716.5m in the red, how is this possible? The American owners had to borrow over £500m to even buy the club in the first place! Sky-high interest, mystery payments to ‘family members’ and fees that paid for ‘management and administration matters’ seem to have deepened the fault lines that began to show when the Glazers bought the club in 2005.

David Conn explains the situation well in The Guardian online 

It’s a worrying situation, and one that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Especially when you contrast the financial situation with that of Arsenal, or (and I say this through gritted teeth) Manchester City – who are both in rude health when compared with goings on at Old Trafford. Oh well, at least Liverpool are in dire straits with their finances too…

Hopefully, in matters on the pitch, United will have the upper hand against Arsene Wenger’s team, who failed to break the deadlock in a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa earlier this week. The home side are the division’s leading scorers and they have taken 24 points from 10 unbeaten games. Er… crap! Well, we did beat them at Old Trafford in August. Back then Arsene Wenger accused United of playing ‘anti-football’ it ain’t pretty but if that’s what it takes to win again then I’d happily accept.

Okay – it’s nearly time for the sun to go down on another gorgeous day on Maui. Time to get a glass of wine and wander down to the beach I think.

Until next time…