Swedish football player Henrik Rydström, currently a player with Kalmar FF in Allsvenskan, often writes columns for Swedish newspaper Expressen about his views on football. In his latest writings, posted on the 16th of December, he expressed his thoughts on Barça being like a woman and why Zlatan could never fit in. The original article can be found here.
Barcelona is the knockout beauty. The one you just have to admire and long for. Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Alves, it’s so soft, so beautiful and nothing is squared nor horrific. But all in all there is something else which impresses the most. The mentality. The desire to make sacrifices. Every day of the week.
It was in that way FC Barcelona eliminated their guests Real Sociedad with 5-0. By chasing them through the field, without letting them catch their breath by pushing them, stressing them out and by winning the ball. Because it is often forgotten. Or even more, it disappears in all the glory of their offensive. But everything about Barcelona has its origin from their outstanding defense. And I wonder: How can a team that succesful, get so much respect but still never get comfortable. Though it is fundamental for all of human kind – we are hungry, then we eat, we are tired, then we sleep, we are horny, then we sleep with someone and when we reached satisfaction we want to take it easy and slow. But Barcelona eats, sleeps, have sex and are winning games without ever wanting to take it easy – even though they reached satisfaction.
Barcelona refuses to accept the myth of its own excellence. It suggests two things: A very wise and aware squad of players AND a great coach.
It became a bit ridiculous when Zlatan Ibrahimovic, uncriticized, got to mock Pep Guardiola after his transfer to Milan. And made it look like everything was Guardiola’s fault. Which of course it wasn’t. What Guardiola did wrong was that he believed that he could change Zlatan’s mentality. That he could get Zlatan to become subordinate [as an individual] to the collective. There were, after all, bigger stars than Zlatan in Barcelona and they subordinated. But Zlatan only subordinates if he knows that he is number one. In the end in Barcelona, a player like Pedro ranked higher than Zlatan.
Pedro does not have the technical moment of brilliance like Zlatan has. But he runs. All the time. Always. And he seems to put pressure on the opponents before Barcelona even loses the ball. Which Zlatan never could embrace.
And for Barcelona, their defense attitude is more important than anything else. Because they know that it is what creates their sharp offensive. Barcelona seeking a great ball possession to thereby control the game is nothing new in football. It’s something many teams also have had as an ambition and have succeeded with. What is new is that Barcelona eliminates the vulnerability of the system by adding a ruthless and almost cynical aggression when losing the ball. When other ball owning teams often become stagnant and passive when there is no result, Barcelona’s aggressiveness gives the players a willingness to run which leads to scoring opportunities. In Sunday’s game against Real Sociedad, all of this definitely showed. The subordination of the collective and the enormous team spirit which leads Barcelona to score goals together, celebrate the scored goals together and to defend together.
Barcelona is the world’s most beautiful woman.
Who also has got sense in the head. (some brains)
Which isn’t a too often combination.