After another El Clasico finished last night with the most memorable parts of the game being the countless times that play acting was seen from Barcelona, it is something I feel compelled to write on. It really frustrates me how football is becoming more about the controversy in the game rather than remembering the football that is played. This has happened on countless occasions this season with the latest episode from Barcelona last night being just another page in the book.
Sometimes controversy occurs outside of the realms of players and this is something that is, unfortunately, built into the game of football. This is not something the players can do anything about and the quicker Sepp Blatter gets off his high horse, admits he was wrong and introduces technology to the game, the more football will gain.
However, the blame for play acting falls directly at the feet of the players and Barcelona have come under scrutiny recently for receiving decisions from the referee. Although this is just bitter Real Madrid trying to blame anybody apart from themselves, they have a point.
Take Mascherano and his ludicrous behaviour last night. I never liked him at the best of times during his stint in a Liverpool shirt but he has got the art of diving so perfected that I am even fooled sometimes but as you can see, the camera never lies. Some may argue that Ronaldo clipped his ankle on the way down but seeing as he manages to take another few steps before going down after seeing Higuain through on goal, I think we can safely say he could of easily stayed on his feet. Instead, he chose to fall to ground and won Barcelona the free kick, cancelling out Higuain’s opener.
I was always the first to defend Barcelona due to how they have presented themselves over the past 36 months. They have been out-and-out the best footballing team on the planet and the etiquette of Lionel Messi is something that even the Barcelona players clearly need to learn. No more example is more obvious than that of the incident between Pepe and Dani Alves from the first leg at the Bernabeu last week.
How Dani Alves could have swung his leg around at that speed without getting hit is what makes it so convincing. No matter how many times I watch it, I still can’t figure it out but as he went off an a stretcher but came bursting back on within minutes, I think we can assume that nothing happened. Barcelona have made it to the Champions League final already and with United having a commanding 2-0 tonight going into the home leg, we are in a strong position to meet them there. I do not want this game to be remembered for anything other than Manchester United teaching the world how to beat Barcelona. Can we do it? A rhetorical question. We have done it in 2008 thanks to a Paul Scholes wondergoal and we will do it again as long as Schalke don’t provide any magic.
PS – Sergio Busquests is a dirty, dirty player and I never want to see him in a United shirt.