Picture this; endless hours in the gym, a strict diet that involves eating what you need rather than what you want, double or triple practice sessions, clocks of video analysis and tactics- all these according to fans are soft work whenever a player’s wages is mentioned.
Now- pause, rewind all that, then add a crunching tackle straight out of Moses’ rod that separates ligaments, divides bones and sends grown men into excruciating pain. Then suddenly fans realize that being a professional footballer is not soft work after all. One minute you’re with your teammates celebrating a goal and the next you’re having an appointment with a doctor who is about to tell you how long you’ll be out as well as a torturing recovery plan that could take months.
On Saturday, Alex Vidal of Barcelona and Osasuna’s Cayetano Bonnin ‘Tano’ suffered injuries that was not only horrible to watch but also humbling. The expression on the faces of Real Madrid’s players that had the courage to even look at Tano said it all. Isco, who accidentally collided with Tano couldn’t bring himself to watch a man in such pain and agony.
At that moment, winning didn’t matter, competition was put aside, Tano’s state was all that mattered. On this week of ‘Everything LaLiga’, Alex Vidal and Tano is all that matters. #AnimosAlexyTano. Get well soon.
Barcelona made sweet revenge turn into pillow talk
There was something about Barcelona’s performance that fell between revenge or a taste of what’s to come. Alaves did the unimaginable by beating Barcelona at the Camp Nou back in September with the MSN featuring. Boy!, that hurt Barcelona’s feelings and only Saturday did we discover how much it did. Even yam would decline to be pounded the way Barcelona descended on Alaves. It wasn’t just about the six goals that was scored, it was the sheer dominance especially in the second half that brought about these numbers in quick succession (53, 63, 65, 67). Before you start thinking these are ‘too sure’ numbers in Baba Ijebu- these are the minutes Barcelona scored in the second half.
This game also served as a prelude to the Copa del Rey final between both teams and this felt like Barcelona telling Alaves not to bother showing up in May or they risk being slaughtered like lambs. Barcelona will miss Luis Suarez, who scored a brace this weekend, in the final come May and just how significant could that be?
For Alaves, this game was inconsequential because it had little meaning to them. They are not in a relegation fight and this performance could easily have been a Trojan horse. Barcelona are a team capable of taking any team on this planet or even the next to the cleaners, but it is hard not to feel this win was too good to be true.
Real Madrid show Ramos’ temperament in victory
Better to interrupt a MOPOL than mention your team’s defenders when Real Madrid fans are talking about Ramos- or you might demand for a video tape of your naming ceremony from your parents afterwards. Sergio Ramos reached a milestone of 500 appearances for Real Madrid and who would have thought Florentino Perez’ first ever Spanish acquisition back in 2005 would establish himself as one of the greats of the club. Ramos is a class player with a street mentality and that was exactly what Real Madrid’s victory against Osasuna felt like.
Isco was the class and the others went rogue by putting up a street performance against Osasuna. If you ever played street football, you would have heard “force them to play nonsense” and that is usually the tactics deployed by an inferior side to frustrate a superior side. That was Osasuna’s game plan and who would blame them against Real Madrid and it worked until Danilo was taken off through injury which necessitated Zidane to changed tactics.
Danilo, who earns his pay from Real Madrid’s account but he’s seen as assistant to opponents, was largely ineffective on the right as Zidane experimented with 3-5-2. Real came to life after the introduction of James Rodriguez and Lucas Vasquez for Benzema, who has now been substituted more times than the amount EFCC found in Andrew Yakubu’s home.
Real Madrid fans have often wondered how much Benzema transfers into Zidane’s account or could it be he is in possession of Zidane’s nudes that the French coach is willing to risk his managerial career for him. An inexplicable miss against Osasuna, does nothing but grow more calls for Morata to start ahead of Benzema and at this point, it is ridiculous that he isn’t.
ABC- Atletico’s Beautiful Comeback
The headlines had already written itself “Diego Simeone’s ship is sinking” but an ugly headline turned into a thing of beauty and that isn’t used literally. You would probably kiss a toad before seeing beauty in Atletico Madrid but this performance was a thing of impeccable artistry. From Fernando Torres reliving what made him the most feared striker once before, an uncanny ability to find the net with his back facing it, to Carrasco’s Neymar like performance, to Griezmann’s show up at the right time movement.
Diego Simeone raced to celebrate with his boys after Griezmann’s winner and that has always been a beautiful sight to behold, something we haven’t seen a lot this season. It is one thing even his biggest critics love and adore him for.
The victory also brought out a colorful Calderon which will be missed. Those colors tells a story of fans who are simply in love with their team. In a time commercialization has taken over the game, where match day experience is gradually not about fans connecting with the players, Calderon is still a beauty for the purist to see.
Written by Joseph Bassey- follow on Twitter @akajoebass