Extra Time: El Clasico me hole
JOE re-evaluates everything that has been said about Barcelona and Real Madrid and sees them for what they really are.
By Tom Moss
As the fall-out surrounding the latest episode of the 'Increasingly Far From El Clasico' continues, JOE reckons it's time for us to re-evaluate everything we've been told about the two Spanish superpowers and see them for what they really are.
If you're told something enough, you tend to believe it. Even though you know deep down it's not true, you buy into because everyone else seems to do the same.
Don't believe the hype
Take Ed Byrne, for example. Everyone knows deep down that he's about as funny as a kick in the balls on a cold winter’s day. Yet he makes a living as a comedian, because it's almost subliminally decided for us. The same goes for New Years Eve, Michelin star restaurants and Twitter - they all seem unmissable or magnificent, but really they're over-hyped, overrated and utterly disappointing.
I was at a local Junior hurling game last night and overheard two elderly club stewards discussing the finer points of El Clasico.
And so in light of the endless hype bestowed upon the four 'El Clasicos' in quick succession, the stage was set for the ultimate disappointment. Football writers and analysts were creaming their pants in orgasmic anticipation. The football world waited with bated breath for the fascinations that laid in wait.
The first installment was a 1-1 league draw. Little happened but we didn't read too much into it. It was only the intro, the first act in a four-pronged game of cat and mouse - but who would show their unparalleled footballing masterclass first?
The following game, the Copa del Rey final again finished goalless. Eyebrows were raised, but Ronaldo's extra-time winner was supposed to be the catalyst for the final two meetings, the big ones, the Champions League semi-finals.
There's no love lost between Pep and The Special One
Mourinho and Guardiola traded insults; players and ex-players, former managers, kit-men, water-boys and anyone else who could open their mouths quick enough weighed in with their two cents about the trials and tribulations that were in store. And then Wednesday night's debacle unfolded and we have all been left with that sense of emptiness.
It's the same emptiness that follows yet another mumbled, droll punchline from that long-haired shit Byrne, or the emptiness that hits you when you get the 190 euro bill for a slice of beef and a scoop of fancy spuds at the Michelin rated eatery. You know you've been lied to, you know you've been shafted, and what makes it worse is that you knew it would happen.
No escaping El Clasico
But at least with Ed Byrne you can simply turn the telly off. Or walk out of the overpriced fancy-arsed restaurant. But there's no escaping the hullabaloo about El Clasico. It's everywhere. I was at a local Junior hurling game last night and amidst the usual shouts of 'use yer two hands for Jaysis sake' and 'ah sure ref, he's ridin' him', I overheard two elderly club stewards discussing the finer points of El Clasico. And we still have one more to come.
More diving, more hissy-fits, more rolling around on the ground like a rabbit with myxomatosis. A high proportion of the players and staff at both clubs should be ashamed of themselves. I'd have more respect for a shit-smeared toilet roll in Susan Boyle's downstairs toilet than I currently have for Dani Alves, Marcello, Jose Mourinho or Sergio Busquets, the softest self-proclaimed hard man in football.
People talk about Barca being the best ever club side. Nonsense. How any club can receive so many plaudits while behaving so disgracefully is beyond me. They probably are one of the best footballing sides in a long time, but they'll never be great. Greatness demands more than raw talent. It requires humility, character, respect and many more virtues. On Wednesday's evidence, neither side can claim to have many of them.
CLIP OF THE DAY: Amidst all the shite from the Bernabeu, Leo Messi was the only one to come out with his reputation improved. He'll have the world stage to himself for quite some time, but this 18-month-old toddler will surely be more than a flash in the pan. The New Messi?!