Logic and football do not hit it off, until obligation imposes good sense. In their first match of the championship, Barça forgot their grudges, disappointments and differences. It was a solvent team, supported by a loyal fan base. After two disastrous years, Barça’s drift pointed to a social outbreak. The departure of Messi, hours after dismantling the press conference scheduled to announce his renewal, aggravated the emotional climate and disappointment so much that a virulent response could be suspected in the debut: without Messi, with the filter open to a limited presence of spectators at the Camp Nou and Real Sociedad opposite. A great menu.
Its inaugural condition did not avoid a transcendent air to the party. The statement of complaints was known and the team’s response was not known. Neither is that of the public, hypersensitive in the last two years, but more than 500 days away from the stadium, their natural habitat. Logic overcame: the fans seamlessly assumed their role at this time – shelter, encouragement, unity – and the team responded with game and energy.
He has around 60 games to go, an adventure of oceanic proportions in soccer, but some games are more important than others, no matter where they are on the calendar. There was the possibility of a dying Barça, depressed by so much negativity, without confidence in its resources and, above all, without Messi as an alibi. It almost always served for the good, but also for the bad. It was too easy to explain Barça through Messi. The team took on an anecdotal profile, a comfortable helper in the role, with all the risks that that implies.
Without the usual alibi, Barça not only played well, but also conveyed the feeling of a healthy team. How is health measured in soccer? Less for the result than for the collective commitment, solidarity, attention to detail, compromise and harmony. Without all these conditions you can win, but it is impossible to play well. And Barça played an excellent game against a competent team that performed very poorly in the first half, perhaps because they did not expect such a determined, robust and authoritarian rival. He did not let the Real breathe.
It was a coral Barça, without gaps in the performance of the players. The classic performance, in short, in which it is difficult to distinguish the best from the worst. Criticized footballers, in the case of Braithwaite, had their best experience with the Barça jacket. The new ones adjusted like silk, a subject suspended by those signed in recent years. Èric García played naturally, from memory, little demanded of course, but with great personality. It was conceived at Barça and spent several years under Guardiola’s siege at Manchester City. He is trained to play for the team that suits him best: Barça.
In an afternoon that left the Barcelona parish more happy than satisfied, nobody generated more attention than Memphis. One thing is to arrive preceded by a certain fame, another is to justify it in a team of the magnitude of Barça. He did not triumph at Manchester United. Yes he did it at the Olympique de Lyon, where the degree of demand is lower. It took him a minute to express himself. Memphis left no doubts: strong forward, skilled, fast, versatile and with character. The shirt didn’t weigh a gram on him. It remains to see their daily performance, the day to day that distinguishes footballers who squander their great potential from those who rush to the last drop of their talent. He passed a difficult exam with flying colors. Also Barça. Its takeoff has exceeded expectations.
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