Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Classic Memory

There is, for all intents and purposes, only one match in the football calender. It is Barcelona versus Real Madrid. It's the only game I care about, because Barcelona embody everything that I love about football, and Madrid embody everything that I hate. I love Messi, I hate Ronaldo. I love Guardiola, I hate Mourinho. I love proactive football, I hate reactive football.

Needless to say, I would quite like it if Barcelona win tonight, though I fear the worst.

In view of El Clasico, here is my favourite moment from the last few in memory.

It is the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Madrid -- having begun their pre-season early in order to lay down a marker right at the beginning of the season -- are losing 2-1 in the Nou Camp, and 4-3 on aggregate. Mourinho decides to introduce youth team product Jose Maria Callejon to the cauldron. He is young, impish, and eager to make an impression in the biggest game of his life up to this point.

In the middle of the park, Iniesta has the ball at his feet, shielding it from the new arrival. Rather than accept his fate, Callejon decides instead to kick the back of Iniesta's legs a few times, just to let the old guard know that there is a new kid in town, and he's not to be trifled with. Iniesta wins a free kick, but sets aside his calm demeanour for a brief moment as he squares up to his opponent. Callejon appears to have gotten under his skin. Feathers have been ruffled. Mourinho is impressed. Nothing further happens at present, but a history has been formed between Spain's World Cup hero and a Spanish unknown. What kind of fireworks will their next encounter produce? A few minutes later, this happens:


Iniesta and Callejon share an apology and an embrace in the end. 

There are some players you don't want to mess with because they'll batter you. There are those special players you don't want to mess with because they'll nutmeg you.

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