Barça – ManU Wednesday 27 May 2009
I believe that this could be a great exhibition of different styles of the Peoples Game, and unlike Eric Cantona, I pick Barça to win. You would expect that from a fan. No? Well for my side, I wrote to the Financial Times in response to their columnist, read below.
We read Simon Kuper, (15 May 2009, Financial Times Weekender , This could be the best game ever) on a plane to Geneva with my partner and our one year old daughter an avid Barca fan, and already a socio, with great relish. However, we were disappointed that he turned the one fundamental strenght of Barça, its “production”and playing home-grown talents much lauded by many including the likes of UEFA president Platini and FiFa president Blatter as a weakness. This he does with references to Pique as reject and Valdez, as a product of Catalan styled affirmative action ignore the fact that both had played brilliantly in the semi finals of the Champions League, with Valdez stopping point blank goals chances by Drogba (Chelsea) not only in London but the first leg in Camp Nou too. Let us see what happens in the final. (original signed)
———-This could be the best football match in the world, : May 15 2009 Everyone expects the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United to be a great game. But in fact it could be the best football match ever. The idea isn’t mine. I got it from the German football writer Christoph Biermann. He outlined his theory in Marseille in 1998, after Brazil beat Holland in the World Cup semifinal. Somebody was calling it a great match, when Biermann cut him off. “It was the best ever,” he corrected. Biermann explained: football is always improving. Players keep getting fitter, quicker and smarter at defending. Therefore, when two great teams meet in an important match, attack a fair amount, and play at their best, it is almost by definition the best game ever. Indeed, since Biermann said this, football has gone on improving. ——-(fast forward to..)
This final won’t be like that. Market researchers at Sport+Markt say Barca is the most popular team in Europe, with 44m European supporters. United is probably the most popular team on earth. Each has a manager who incarnates his club. And each has a core of long-serving homegrown players who thrust the club culture down the throats of imported foreigners: Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville at United, Xavi Hernández Creus, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes at Barca. So each team has that elusive mix of stars and collectivist ethic. Quality is assured. Both teams will be champions of their country this season, and that’s just for starters. Barca are going for a treble of prizes, and United for a quintuple. Both teams will probably attack. Barcelona always do: this season is already its highest-scoring ever. United will want to play in Barcelona’s half because Barca’s only weakness is its defence, where it will be without three regulars, will feature a centre-back, Gerard Pique, who is a United reject, and a keeper, Valdes, who was helped into the job by a policy of affirmative action for Catalans. I hate to jinx it, but this one could take the Biermann Award from the France-Italy World Cup final of 2006.
(you must read the full article by following the link)