Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Messi: Six Weeks

It was enough to make any Barca supporter toss their cava. The blaugrana may have beaten Celtic 1-0 and moved on through to the quarter finals of the Champions League, but it came at a huge price. 38 minutes into the first half, kid fantastico Leo Messi inexplicably (at first) broke his sprint, hopped a few steps, then laid down on the pitch clutching his thigh... wracked in pain. And when the tears streamed down the young Argentine's face, us here at apm (2/3 of us nestled in a small tapas bar in Barcelona that strangely enough had reserved seats for patrons wanting to watch the match on the big screen; all others, i.e. us and a few other lowly fans who didn't know the secret handshake, were relegated to the other side of the joint to watch it on a much smaller TV) had to breathe deeply and pray to the football gods that this wasn't yet another injury setback for the brilliant player. Not now; not again.

But in the morning, with various images of the player splashed across the front pages of the football newspapers, it was impossible to deny the reality of the situation. Messi would in all probability be out for the rest of the season. Six weeks are what the doctors are saying. There's a slight chance that Messi will be back before the end of the league season (I wouldn't bet on it, though, especially considering the flak Riijkaard is receiving for rushing Messi to play last night, which he did because he received criticism for not playing the kid last weekend in the league match against Atletico Madrid), but the semi-final of the Copa del Rey against Valencia is out of the question as is the final if Barca indeed get there. Still... we can hope for the best.

The win was tainted, but Barcelona are through. But does the squad, who are playing well at the moment, have the momentum and focus to do what they accomplished in 2006? Do they have the resiliency to be champions once again?

On a much happier note... cheers to all of the Celtic fans that flooded the city (supposedly some 20,000!) over the last few days. Due to circumstances purely of my own making, I was unable to get downtown yesterday to snap more pictures of the Scottish supporters. I did see plenty of them still hanging out today sightseeing around the Barri Gotic and quietly nursing their hangovers with more drink at various watering holes. From all accounts, these were traveling supporters that any club should be proud to have.

You can read more about the invasion of the Celts here.


Lynda said...

As wonderful as it was to sit in a tapas bar IN BARCELONA to watch my boys play, the sight of Messi in tears was a real damper on my euphoria.

Apparently for the team too: Deco says seeing Messi cry upset us.

Georgina Best said...

It's funny isn't it how you kind of feel you know players even when you don't. Seeing them suffer therefore causes us pain. Good win for the Spaniards though

Lynda said...

Oh, I know, I do feel that way...I mock people who talk about actors and other celebrities as though they know them, but I'm totally guilty of doing it with "my" players. I'm probably even worse with my local Portland Timbers.