El Clasico Supercopa: A No, a Poke, and Two Fouls

Yeah yeah yeah, the latest round of El Clasicos was a way long time ago, I know. Look, I’ve been busy. Also, here at The Vuvuzela Stylings of Toblerone Jones we actually strive to do things that are actually different, in actuality. Timeliness: it’s for suckers.

Anyway, the games: they were good! A lot of attacking going on, both teams threatening, a battle between equals. In fact, apart from the brief windows of Barca dominance in which they scored their goals, Real were the better team, dic[k]tating the games. Blah blah blah tactics blah blah blah pass ratios blah blah blah shots at goal shots on target saves made goals scored blah blah blah tackles blah blah blah tiki-taka blah blah blah “physicality” blah blah blah sumptuous goals blah blah blah burp, wank, fart.

Now, down to the real. The first game. It all started with a handshake:


MEGA AWK YALL! Best start imaginable. OH WAIT,

Holy “Sweet Tits” Mary Mother of God! I have to admit that when I first saw Real’s new 2011-12 season kits, I was aghast. That shit looked so tacky! But of course Crissy made it work, using it to pay the King homage. This is how you stunt in a Real shirt. You’re nothing, Davey Becks! NOTHING!

About twenty minutes in Khedira got so jealous of Ronaldo’s popped collar pimpociousness that he did CR7 one better and “pulled a Cantona”:

Abidal didn’t even have to leave the field for treatment, the magnificent bastard. <3 u Abi.

Then something happened that, for me, was a defining moment of the “tournament” or whatever they call it, possibly of this most ancient of sporting rivalries, at least in moral terms.

In the 22nd minute, new merengue signing Fabio Coentrão landed awkwardly on his ankle and fell down kinda hurt. He lay there in visible pain for a little while, hands on his forehead. Team medics were about to come onto the field to treat him with magic spray but Mourinho stopped them. JoMou made it clear that unless Coentrão was badly injured and needed to be taken off, he’d get no coddling. You’re not a little boy. Get up and get on with the game. It felt, then and now, like someone had finally put teeth into all the complaining everyone does over playacting.

For this along with many other things, Jose Mourinho is a fucking hero.

Another hero of the clasico was a more obvious and popular one: Lionel Messi. Throughout the first game the poor little guy looked like he had the flu. He was sluggish, coughing and wheezing throughout the 90 minutes. At one point it looked like he was throwing up on the field. But all that didn’t stop him from turning it on for a few seconds and making a beautiful goal out of basically nothing. Only happened once in the game, but boy what a pretty few seconds it was. Every time I looked at him, a name screamed out at me, the name of the greatest human athlete of all time: Michael Jordan.

Oh yeah, David Villa scored in the first game too. It was terrific, and similar to his goal in May’s Champions League final. I think he’s like, “back” now. I credit the fact that he finally added a goatee to his lonely, unfortunate soul patch.

The game didn’t end with the goals, though. Late on, with less than ten minutes left, something wonderful happened. I like to call this “Pepe’s Revenge”:

There is justice in the world after all.

The second game was also good and had some goals and stuff, Cesc came on and got an assist, winning his first trophy with Barcelona in his first game with Barcelona, I was happy for him. But obviously the story of the game was dominated by uglier (better/awesomer) moments.

Yeah, duh, I’m talking about the fight.

I love a good fight, especially at the end of a thrilling, passionately played game. When an encounter is dominated by bad tempers and little scuffles it can be a drag, but an explosive free-for-all at the death is a perfect way to finish. These people get paid millions of dollars to do this shit, so I expect them to be extremely emotionally invested in whether they win or lose. Sports are more than just kicking a ball around or whatever—they’re about the spectacular glory of human effort.

Barcelona won the trophy, but Real Madrid won the fight. A lot of otherwise smart, perceptive people made jokes at Mourinho’s expense for the eye poke. I remember seeing the word “gouge” thrown around on twitter and sports news websites, like he’d Gloucester’d him or something. I remember hearing the real-time commentators passing judgment. “Just appalling.” “Completely unprofessional.” “Setting a horrendous example for the players.” “Absolutely no reason for that sort of behavior.” Not many bothered to ask: what if there was a reason? What if Vilanova deserved it?

More than any of these things, though, the Supercopa was for me a story of two fouls. One in each game. One from each team. One called, the other not.

Late in the first game, this happened.

As blatant and cynical as they get. The ref let it slide.

And just in case you’re inclined to give the cule keeper any benefit of the doubt, well, look at his face when the press asked him about the incident after the match:

Rat fucker.

Valdes should have been sent off and Real Madrid given a penalty. In the second game Valdes made several superb saves, ones I doubt back-up keeper Pinto could have pulled off. This call had an incalculably huge effect on the outcome of the “tournament.” The “respect” campaign that FIFA/UEFA/whoever keeps shoving down our throats never felt so hollow.

In the death throes of the second game, Marcelo went in hard with both feet on Cesc Fabregas, setting off the brawl everyone talked about in solemn, scolding tones until the next soccer thing happened.

As I’m sure you saw/already knew, Marcelo was sent off. Like half a dozen other people went with him soon after. The foul was described, in Drogba-esque terms, as “a fucking disgrace.” Well.

Comparing this foul with the earlier one from Valdes, they couldn’t be more different.

Valdes’ elbow was a calculated ploy to deny an opponent a go at an empty net roughly halfway through a two-game contest, the score at that moment tied. Marcelo made a desperate lunge in the middle of the field in the final seconds of the contest’s final game, his opponents ahead by a goal. If these two were on trial for murder, the Spaniard had malice aforethought, while the Brazilian committed a crime of passion.

Let us now soak up some context.

Valdes tends goal for FC Barcelona, a club whose identity is defined by their unshakeable commitment to playing a beautiful, technical, and clean passing game. They have often and loudly condemned other teams for playing dirty, and for compromising their morality and their identity for the sake of winning. Their motto is “mes que un club” and they prefer it when people interpret that as broadly as is convenient for them. How could Valdes explain his behavior to the badge he kisses so proudly? Sticking his elbow out like that shits on everything his beloved club supposedly stands for.

Next we consider Marcelo. Stadium crowds in Europe are notorious for racially abusing non-white players. Samuel Eto’o, Emmanuel Adebayor, and others have publicly spoken about it recently. FIFA is pushing a “Say No to Racism” media campaign fairly hard. Yet racist abuse by fans continues unabated. Marcelo has been a frequent target of that abuse, particularly at the Camp Nou. We’re talking monkey chants. Try to play through 90 minutes of monkey chants and see how calm and clearheaded you feel in the final seconds of an intensely fought and tantalizingly close game. Fucking try it, I dare you.

As if racist crowds weren’t enough, Marcelo has a personal history with Barcelona. It’s impossible for us to reallytrulydefinitively know what Busquets’ words were in that infamous shout. The evidence leaves room for doubt. The thing is, Busquets is the white one here. He doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. He’s the white one. So when Marcelo says Busquets called him a monkey and Busquets fails to convince me otherwise, I believe Marcelo. “Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply to white people accused of racism. It just doesn’t. This is hard for many (most) white people to accept, but there it is. I know, I know—white guilt is such a drag.

When you add all that together, it’s much easier to forgive Marcelo for his crunching tackle than Valdes for his elbow. And for me, that was the story of the Supercopa in miniature—Madrid were overzealous, but Barca were hypocrites.

You can say a lot of bad things about Real Madrid. I definitely have before. But they’re not hypocrites.

So. Yeah. “Mes que un club.” Uh huh. Sure.

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About andypants

I've got a dirty thumb...
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24 Responses to El Clasico Supercopa: A No, a Poke, and Two Fouls

  1. El Soy says:

    Sorry…What? Didn’t get beyond the first picture

  2. rotimi shaba says:

    If I didn’t know you well enough I’d say very nice and objective piece; but I know you well enough to know that this is the ranting of an arsenal fan that hates barca for “stealing” dia most promising player(Cesc).

  3. dbrizio says:

    Very funny…..loved your angle. I’m a big fan of JM and I totally loved d eye poke/gouge.
    What I took from the game however was how both set of players were just boys being boys…..a brawl today, friends tomorrow.
    Ramos – Busquets
    Marcelo – Alves
    Abidal – Benzema
    Messi – Di Maria
    They’ll all b friends again in camp

    PS: can’t wait for another brawl

    • Yeah, I think that’s what makes the difference between a blowout at the end vs a war of attrition throughout…a brawl is so cathartic, everyone tends to get all the bad juju out of their systems and move on.

  4. It’s an entertaining piece but for what it’s worth Marcelo never said publicly what Busquets told him. It was only reported by Madrid to UEFA after the match when both teams will reporting every goddamn incident that happened during the game.

    Also that Marcelo stuff is absolutely BS..Dani Alves went through the same shit in the first match and many other times but he never made cynical challenges as the one Marcelo did. Neither did Eto’o or the many other who got racially abused. Also why did Ramos do a cynical challenge on Messi at the end of the 5-0 thrashing? Was he racially abused for having a horse face?
    Call us dives or cheats all you want but that Madrid team has at least 6-7 football thugs!

    • Busquets never publicly denied it, either.
      Would you like some cheese with that whine?

      • Actually he said that he said :”mucho morro” which means “some nerve you’ve got” not “mono mono” which is monkey. So he did actually deny it and since I haven’t heard anything official from Marcelo I’m taking Busquets side on this if you don’t mind!

      • K, that’s because you’re a racist, a stupid one. Busquets didn’t say that publicly, he said it in a statement submitted to a UEFA investigation committee. Marcelo had submitted a statement to the committee earlier, claiming Busquets had said “mono mono.”
        You haven’t heard because you don’t listen. Way to earn your #troll description bro. Props.

  5. Yup as an Arab, a Muslim and an African (probably the most stereotyped races and religion) I can be racist sometimes. I sometimes think of myself and my fellow Africans as monkeys and like to through some banans on my friends too.You should join sometime.

    For starters, cunt, Toni Freixa FC Barcelona’s spokesman said it on behalf of Busquets publicly which is as good as Busquets saying it. It’s a man’s word against another with an inconclusive video. I decide to believe my player how does that make me racist?

    Why don’t you answer me about that crap you wrote about how “Marcelo should be forgiven because he was racially abused?”..Why didn’t Alves do that at the Bernabeu 3 days earlier? Why didn’t Eto’o do it in Zaragoza? Why didn’t Roberto Carlos do it?

    And WTF kind of paragraph was that about Valdes’ foul? It was a penalty but what the fuck does that have to do with “més que un club”? Yes believe it or not we do make fouls and sometimes even more then our rivals, fuckface.

    PS: if you can’t handle some discussion without insulting don’t bother with a blog. I just discovered your blog when that Barca blog RT-ed it and read a few posts and really liked them all but I guess after your kind words you can’t expect any visits from me now! (not that you care much,I know)

    • I care a lot. Trolls are a wonderful source of hits and traffic. Can you handle discussion without insulting? Because I’m pretty sure you opened this “discussion” by calling a serious argument I made “absolutely BS.”

      Valdes’ foul was the kind of act that Barca persistently criticize as being “anti-football” so of course it bears mentioning when their starting keeper commits such an act so blatantly and with such shamelessness. With pride, even. Hypocrisy is the worst of sins.

      If Alves, Eto’o, or Roberto Carlos were to lose their cool after being subjected to racist abuse, I’d be lenient with them as well. I haven’t said or even implied otherwise.

      Maybe you were too stupid to understand what “‘Innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t apply to white people accused of racism” means. I’ll try to clarify: when in doubt, side with the minority. Racism is more important than your club’s brand image.

      Anyone can be racist, racist.

      Thank you for stopping by. Your hits are important to us. Please come again.

    • Oh, I forgot: I’m glad that you liked my other posts. Thank you for saying so.

  6. I also started by saying I enjoyed the piece. I don’t think calling an argument BS deserves the you are a racist stupid troll comments but whatever. If you really care about that racism stuff then you really shouldn’t be accusing people you don’t know of doing it.

    I can’t see your logic in calling me a racist since any kind of abuse towards African and South American players is the almost the same as abusing me meaning if Marcelo is a monkey then it also means me and my fellow Africans are monkeys and I don’t think I’m very content with labeling myself one. Some of our Egyptian players in Europe have been victims of the same thing in Europe.

    As for your BS comment : taking out your frustration by making a potentially season ending tackle on a player that has nothing to do with the chants is in no way acceptable nor should anyone be lenient with it. Maybe if he did it to Busquets in the other match I might’ve understood but this never. It was not Cesc’s fault. Just complete illogical BS.

    But seeing you’re probably a typical English cunt (I hope that’s somehow racist) there’s no need of even trying to talk about that now?!

    And don’t bother with the “Thank you for stopping by. Your hits are important to us. Please come again.”

    “Oh, I forgot: I’m glad that you liked my other posts. Thank you for saying so”.

    • Just being polite, and I am genuinely glad you liked some of my stuff.

      That is a teensy bit racist. Since you seem to care, I’m not English. I’m American, and Latino. I grew up in Texas. I know firsthand what it’s like to be racially abused.

      “Potentially season-ending” is a bit much, wouldn’t you say? They weren’t moving very fast. If we were talking about Pepe’s red from last season you might have a case, but this? Nah. And the thing about anger and frustration is that they make people act illogically. That’s pretty much what anger is. So when someone has reason to be upset, we have reason to go easier on him than if he didn’t. Marcelo’s tackle was understandable and forgivable in a way Valdes’ elbow was not.

      You’re a racist because you’re making it easier for racists to get away with being racists. Das Racist.

      I really care about racism because I get mad when I see it happening and refuse to let people get away with it. I’m willing to explain to you why you’re wrong, not why you’re a miserable piece of shit who pisses me off.

      Thank you for coming. We appreciate the hits.
      Refreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefreshrefresh

      • 24 says:

        Funny how this chap said “typical English cunt” after he spoke of how he’s from a stereotyped background. And anyone can be a racist. And if you are racist, you’re a cunt.

        Your comment was racist; replace
        “English” with any other nationality and you see my point. K, if you’ve ever been stereotyped or racially taunted, then I have every sympathy – cunts who pick on others’ religion or background are the lowest form of scum – but you can’t talk about being stereotyped against then say something irrational straight after.

        You’ve got to calm down, buddy.

    • Milt says:

      Being a cunt transcends nationality or race. If you’re a cunt, it doesn’t need to be prefaced with an adjective that relates to nationality or race. Doing so means the cunter rather than the cuntee has the issue with the nationality or race. Ironicially making the cunter more of a cunt that the cuntee.

      People are scum. 95/5 rule dictates that 95% of people are horrible bastards when you scratch the surface and I’m not stupid enough to attempt to change that. so, be racist all you like, in your head, just don’t pepper ace articles with knobbish knobbery.

  7. jenni4955 says:

    What a great article. Your captioning is brilliant. I knew something suspicious was up when I saw Pep and Jose shake hands like that. As for the article, you really put it all in perspective for me. There’s something rotten in the state of Spain. I never believe in taking football matches and what happens afterwards too seriously. After listening to the pundits on football talk shows I’ve learned that you can ask 100 people to watch a match and report on it afterwards, and you will get 100 different versions of what happened. But all the s**t that Barcelona is pulling, and the blind eye that refs turn when stuff like what Valdes did happens, as well as the racial abuse by fans that FIFA/UEFA never do anything about…all that stinks. Well done. You’ve made me think, and that takes a lot.

  8. shaun says:

    Meh, you’re an Arsenal fan. This is the kind of rhetoric that you can expect from an Arsenal fan in regards to Barcelona. Very typical. You hate them; in fact, you hate them so much, that you actually justify Real Madrid’s actions by saying they were ‘provoked’. You know, like a child on a playground after getting into a fight with another child — “But, ma, he started it!”

    I don’t blame you, though. In fact, I find this quite humorous. I tend not to take offense to such articles. Inferiority makes people jealous and/or envious, so they cover it with hatred, picking out as many flaws as they can along the way. The fact that you neglect to mention that both — yes, both — sides were equally at fault for the deterioration of the Clasicos over the past year is proof in itself.

    I think it’s cute, though, and I actually applaud you for your honesty. No worries — I understand how myopia works.

    Arsenal fans and their inferiority complex with Barcelona continues. Lead the way!

    PS, Thanks for Fàbregas. 4 games played, 3 trophies won. Man, that guy can ball!

  9. Milt says:

    Mnyeh. I’ve just re-read this – mainly because it’s rapidly becoming one of my favourite sites. While I still think ithe article is great, I think you’re scraping the bottom of a very empty barrell with your descriptions of the two fouls.

    One was a snidey shithouse flick of an elbow – no goal threat to speak of, and if that’s an untended goal then I’ve just porked Jennifer Aniston (clue – I haven’t just porked Jennifer Aniston). The other was a snidey chop. Both cynical, both did exactly what they were intended to do. Just because one was more obvious than the other, doesn’t make it any the more honourable.

    Marcelo’s tackle wasn’t desperate, it was just unneccesary. Ain’t never seen no-one scoring from that sort of position before, no sir – he just fancied a chunk out of his opponent. And fair enough, who wouldn’t, but let’s not dress it up.

    Feel free to call me a shithouse. I’ve been called worse. In the last ten minutes. Keep on keepin’ on, you Barca hating bastard!

  10. Glad you like my site. I dunno what you mean by scraping the bottom of a barrel, but I disagree with your descriptions.

    Valdes was on all fours and there was no one behind him to block any sort of shot. Ronaldo was on his feet already sprinting to the ball and at that distance by an open goal he’s a bigger goal threat than anyone else on the planet–including Messi, as the angle favored a right-footed shot. It was hardly a sure thing but it was definitely a strong chance.

    Marcelo’s tackle was desperate. It was in the closing seconds of injury time and if Barca could keep possession they’d kill the game. If Real could get possession though, they could launch a final, last-minute, Hail Mary counterattack on the break, something they excel at. Let’s not forget, it was that sort of play that won them the Copa del Rey. Marcelo was at least trying to get to the ball, he was just going through Fabregas to get it. And given his history with this team, I don’t hold it against him if he doesn’t care too much about Cesc’s ankles.

    Obviously I don’t know what was going on in Marcelo’s head at the time. You may be spot on. All I can do is call it like I see it.

    Keep on keepin’ on, shithouse. Thanks for having smart feedback.

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