It is official. If anyone did not know it already that is. Bayern Munich are now the best team in Europe by popular consensus. Most in the know would have told you this month’s ago as they continued to stretch away from Borussia Dortmund in the highly competitive Bundesliga table. Dortmund the side who humbled Real Madrid and Manchester City earlier in the season are no pushovers; as Real Madrid will no doubt find out again tonight.
Last night Barcelona came up against a side that could match them on the passing game, had the fitness to close them down at every given opportunity and outweighed them to the point where it almost looked like bullying; holding the short kid at arm’s length while he swings punches rabidly.
Context; Barcelona were certainly not at full strength. Defensively the inclusion of Marc Bartra tells you that Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol were both out injured; not that I think it would have mattered.
Lionel Messi couldn’t have been at 50% in regards to his hamstring injury and he was marshalled by the Spaniard Javi Martinez; who, by the way, was absolutely superb.
In the end 4-0 was a fair result. But it should never have really been a surprise. Bayern have easily been the best team on the continent this season so Barcelona should have come into the tie as the underdogs anyway regardless of their injury problems.
But what struck me was the amount of people who suddenly took pleasure in their defeat. All of a sudden the admiration for what was once known as the best way to play the game was gone; and people took great pleasure in applauding their demise.
Context; this Barcelona side are still in the Champions League semi-final and about to wrap up the La Liga title. They have had to do so under extreme circumstances with their new manager Tito Villanova having to undergo treatment for cancer of the salivary gland. They would still win the Premier League title at a canter; sorry Premier League loyalists it is just a simple fact.
Jealousy has long fuelled Barcelona and anyone who claims they are not desirous of the philosophy this club possesses and the way they have conquered the world in recent years playing that way is quite frankly deluded.
Everyone loves to watch the fall of a giant but in reality this is not a fall. Merely a stumble. Barcelona are far from done and while I have absolutely no inkling that they can overturn the deficit against Bayern I really hope they give it a good go to hand humble pie to all the people who have used one result to proclaim the Barcelona we should all love as ‘dead’.
They are not; simply put the best team in Europe won last night and for once it was not Barcelona. Do not let that fool you. Barca are far from done.
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