Monday, June 18, 2007

La Liga results: last round

Nastic 1 - 5 Barcelona

Real Madrid 3 - 1 Mallorca

Sevilla 0 - 1 Villarreal

Congratulations to Real Madrid for a title race well fought and well won. Condolences to Sevilla, who perhaps deserve a lot more than they're getting. Still, the Champions League ain't bad.

And above all - thank you to my boys for their efforts today, and for much of this season. It has been heartbreaking, but there have still been many moments that will live long in my memory. Much more later, including end of season reviews.

Condolences to the fans of 'Nastic, Celta and Real Sociedad and congratulations in particular to Real Betis and (thank god) Athletic Bilbao. When everything's settled I'll post more on the European places.

I'll leave you now with this lovely quote from a Marcela Mora y Araujo article on Boca Juniors (speaking of which, post on Roman's progress there soon):
In a wonderful documentary following Boca to Tokyo for the match against Bayern Munich in 2001, Argentinian novelist and devout Boca follower Juan Sasturain witnessed his team's defeat up close. As his parting shot in a film called Thank You For The Game; What We Talk About When We Talk About Football, Sasturain delivers one of the most hopeful sentiments I have heard. Not winning one trophy is not so bad, he says, because we always have next season, next time ... "it's infinite. This game is infinite".
And it is. Visca el Barca!

We'll be back next season.


Derek said...

Sasturain's quote is beautiful. I imagine that there were plenty of sad, solitary walkers wandering the streets of Barcelona last night.

Visca el Barca!

And congrats to Villarreal for getting back into Europe!

linda said...

Derek: oh, the blaugrana 2/3s of Barcelona will be desolate, I'm sure. But hey, we'll be back next season.

Yay for Villarreal. Now, can Roman and co bring the Copa Libertadores back to Argentina? Then there's Copa America. Exciting hiatus, this.

Albert said...

Thank you very much for yours words, posts, passion and right opinions. It's wonderful reading you every week, I miss you.

Albert, Barcelona, Catalonia

linda said...

Albert: You're welcome, and thank you. Your comment means a lot to me.

Gonzalo said...

The one consolation for Barcelona, as Cruyff said earlier, is that it is easier to take the tough decisions after losing than after winning, so a new cycle can start at the club. The question is, who will form part of it?

As with Real, the most important decision surrounds the choice of coach. If Rijkaard is to stay, say so quickly so he can get on with rebuilding. Otherwise, get the replacement in as soon as possible, because the transfer market is already hot (Manchester United got there early).

Thank you for your kind, measure words about the Real victory. I agree with "well fought", but not so sure about "well won". This season has been won by the team making the least number of errors, not the one playing the best football (that was Sevilla BTW).

We've got a summer of transfer madness to look forward to!

linda said...

Gonzalo: hey, good to see you around here again. My worry is that the loss, as such, wasn't quite enough to inspire the changes that I think are needed, particularly in regards to commercial activities like summer tours. I almost wish we'd come third, so that the management would have to scrape the Asian tour. The players themselves have said that the pre-season was inadequate, after all.

Agreed about Rijkaard. Personally, I'm hoping he stays, but the persistent rumours about him and Eto'o's relationship are pretty worrying. To be honest, I don't want to lose either.

The La Liga clubs have been left behind this year in the transfer market by ManU and Bayern. Barca and Real need to get in there least people forget we can splash the cash too. Plus, both clubs need players.

Agreed with you about Sevilla. But Real's persistence, determination and spirit were admirable, and I think they deserved their reward in the end.

los uno said...

Beautiful blog about the beautiful game and my beloved barca. I am worried though about next year.

When we turned the team around three years ago, we got in 7 new players and in key positions. We completely changed the attack and midfield with the exception of Ronaldinho and Xavi. This year the rebuilding will happen on the fringes of the team (with the exception of Henry and his ego, hope only the former comes to barca if he does come). The crux of Ronnie-Eto'o-Deco-Xavi will remain (I believe Iniesta played extremely well this year, so he is not part of the problem and Messi gave some beautiful moments). The main problem I saw this year was a lack of motivation and desire. I don't know how we're going to build that back up with the same team. I really don't want Eto'o or Ronnie to go, but it'll help if some kind of major change happens to shake up the team. Like all Barca fans, I wish we could be in the situation we were in 12 months ago, but there are dressing room issues.

We scored the maximum number of goals and conceded the joint least number of goals in the league and still we couldn't win it. We stuggled in the Champion's league, but that could be attributed to the prolonged absences of Messi and Eto'o and lack of form of Ronnie and the defense. Towards the end of the season, footballing wise we were not that bad, we played quite well. We didn't take our chances, were not hard nosed enough to get the 1-0 and 2-1 victories. Agreed footballing changes need to be done to improve, but more importantly an atmosphere change needs to be brought in. I see Deco threatening to leave if changes are not done at the club, and he has been one of the main culprits of the season. To give the ball away and lose possession so many times in midfield is criminal, and most of the times his passes lacked any conviction.

I'm really confused on how to solve this conundrum we've gotten ourselves in. These are the thoughts running in my head:
Something really needs to be done about the Eto'o-Ronnie-Rijkaard triangle
Some players who just are not motivated enough to perform for Barca need to pull up their socks or go - Deco, Marquez, Zambrotta(sigh), Motta(sigh again) (Edmilson, Beletti can just go)

Hope Laporta, Txiki and Rijkaard can figure out a solution.

linda said...

los uno: welcome! I broadly agree with your comments, and with finding myself at a loss as to how to turn things around, given the personnel conflicts. I'll be writing long posts in the next few days addressing the way we've played this season and the possible chances coming up. Maybe by the end I'll at least have an answer in my own head.