With any dreams of a top league finish over for weeks, Barcelona B played their penultimate league match for the season against Eldense at the Miniestadi. The only motivation for such a match against another mid-table side with lofty aspirations, was to deliver some spectacle to the Miniestadi faithful for the last home match of the season. Yesterday, for a change, Barça B delivered. Free of pressure to get into the playoffs, or to avoid relegation, Gerard López’s men offered a free-flowing footballing spectacle that rather strangely ended with the score at 1-0.
Remember, if you can, back to the beginning of 2016. FC Barcelona, fresh off a Club World Cup trophy, sat top of the table, already well into an unbeaten streak that would last into spring. Though Atlético Madrid had pulled within a point, it didn’t look like their toothless attack in the wake of the failed Jackson Martínez transfer could sustain a real title challenge, and Real Madrid was a hot mess under Rafa Benitez. If football crossed your mind mid-midnight kiss—well, first off, you should reevaluate your priorities, but you probably felt pretty good about Barça’s coming year.
May 6th 2009, a date that culés will never forget. Sitting in front of the T.V. in the dying minutes of the match against Chelsea F.C. waiting for Barça to get eliminated. Hopeless and angry that such an amazing season would not lead to a Champions League triumph. Suddenly, a high cross from Dani Alves that seemed to be going nowhere, finds Samuel Eto’o who narrowly slides it to Lionel Messi, who then finds Andrés Iniesta. Chelsea had blocked off all the lanes, leaving no way through, but Iniesta has always seen things no one else could.
There is something spectacular about watching Pep Guardiola fail. Whether against Chelsea with Barcelona in 2012, against Barça last season, or against Atlético Madrid just two days ago, he does it in the most amazing ways.