Pressing Issues: Barça kicks flair into beautiful game

2011-05-07 20:51

Barcelona have landed a major coup and enhanced the ­beautiful game of football.

The Spanish ­giants are on the verge of winning the La Liga title – bar a miracle – and have also qualified for the UEFA Champions League final, where they will meet English football aristocrats ­Manchester United on May 28.

What’s impressive is that Barça have accomplished this brilliant achievement by exhibiting some enviable soccer.

This is no mean feat. They are simply a marvel to watch.

Scribes have run out of adjectives and superlatives to describe the breathtaking football on display by the Catalan giants.
Add to that their not-so-old coach, 38-year-old Josep “Pep” Guardiola, combined with the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, and you have a marriage that could only have been created by the soccer gods.

The joke is that Guardiola could have resigned after his first season at the helm when he won an unprecedented treble of the Copa de la Rey, La Liga and the Champions League trophy.

Many argued that anything he did after that would go down as an underachievement.

Ah! Barcelona have also reached these dizzy heights without spending obscene sums of money which has become the norm for the likes of Chelsea and ­Manchester City.

Most of their players are homegrown talents who have ­been sieved through the club’s development structures.

The positive telling blow that Barcelona has landed for football is: You can play beautiful and attractive football and still win games.

This should serve as a wake-up call for coaches and club bosses the world over.

Many a time we have seen clubs playing laborious games – direct, defensive football in a quest to net trophies.

Football is a form of entertainment. What the boys from the hallowed Camp Nou ground have done is to show once more that you can play ­attractive and entertaining football but also win trophies in the process.

I know some will argue that in England, Arsenal play the most attractive brand of football but have not claimed any silverware since lifting the FA Cup in 2005, while Manchester United play a bland game but are able to ground victories even under the most unlikely circumstances.

To counter that argument, I repeat: football is entertainment.

While the game has become big business to the detriment of the entertainment element and to football fans worldwide, it is also important how wins are achieved.

In closing, to their credit, all the top four clubs at home – as the Absa Premiership log stood before yesterday’s games – Ajax Cape Town, Orlando Pirates, ­Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs – have played great football this season.

I would say Ajax have been the most entertaining and enterprising of the quartet.

Hats off to Barça for bringing back the missing flair to the beautiful game.

It has resulted in football connoisseurs globally making it a must that they don’t miss any game in which the club is involved. –

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