It must be tough playing in this Barcelona side when everything revolves around Lionel Messi. No matter how good you are there is always the little Argentian wonder kid stealing the headlines. However, in this Barcelona side there appears to be very few, if any real egos. They enjoy their football, enjoy playing together and it’s very evident which makes them such a joy to watch.
Last night it was Iniesta who stood out for me. Having missed the first leg last week he returned to the midfield alongside Xavi where he is at his best. My father watches very little football these days but sent an e-mail last week in which he described Iniesta as the ‘best European player since Platini’. Praise indeed considering some of his rivals, not forgetting his club and international team-mate Xavi who takes many of the accolades.
It is not a coincidence that when Barca lost to Inter Milan last season Iniesta was missing. He is such an integral part of the side but is hardly noticed which I find very strange. He is an amalgamation of Messi and Xavi; he can beat people so easily, can finish astutely and is also capable of providing the killer pass – as we saw last night. His understanding with Xavi appears at times to go beyond telepathic; the ball just glides effortlessly between them as they advance up the pitch without sharing a glance.
The game itself did not really come close to what people had hoped for. It was more open than the other three games but it had to be; Madrid had to go to the Camp Nou and score goals. At times the game was incredibly stretched and some of the football on display was phenomenal – from both sides. The referee dealt with the histrionics and baiting very well and should emerge with tremendous credit after his work last night.
The Madrid players were by and large a disgrace to the club, the fans and the spectators. Excluding Casillas, Higuain, Kaka, and Ozil the rest spent the entire game kicking lumps out of Barcelona players and whinging to the referee. I don’t often agree with Arsenal fans but Adebayor really is a nasty piece of work and was lucky to remain on the pitch. Although to be fair so were Alonso, Arbeloa, Carvalho, Lass, Marcelo, and Ronaldo….I could go on!
So, Barcelona have booked their place at Wembley which will be an historic return to London; the scene of their first European Cup triumph in 1992. It will be an incredible occasion and one that would not be the same if the Catalans were not there.