Tuesday, November 30, 2010

El Thrashico

Barcelona Routs Real Madrid, 5-0

Regardless of the language or locale, sports fans speak in hyperbole.

Greatest. Le plus grand. Most. La mayoria. Ever. ├╝berhaupt.

The demands of the 24-hour news cycle and the voracious metabolism of the Interwebs further fortify the belief among sports fans that everything that happened today is more awesome and more significant than whatever happened yesterday. Just ask Bill Simmons. I guess this urge is sort of why every generation thinks that the world is likely to end during their own lifetime. Because, after all, how could anything that world-historic happen on someone else's watch?

Well, when it comes to last night's 5-0 thrashing of Spanish Giant Real Madrid by Catalan powerhouse Barcelona the hyperbole may be justified. This 2010 edition of el Clasico featured two sides with arguably the greatest players ever assembled on one field and may have been the most resounding triumph ever in the storied rivalry between the two dominant sides of La Liga.

Greatest. Le plus grand. Most. La mayoria. Ever. ├╝berhaupt. If someone goes and tells Simmons then maybe we'll get a retro preview.

On the field for Barcelona were 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, likely 2010 Ballon D'Or winner Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Carlos Puyol and various members from the Spanish side that won the 2010 World Cup as well as the 2008 Euros. Madrid sent out 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, high-priced starlets Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema, as well as Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas from the Spanish National Team. Virtually every key player from the world's dominant national squad was on the pitch at Barcelona's Camp Nou with Messi and Sexy Ronaldo added to the mix, not to mention international standouts like Ricardo Carvalho (Real/Portugal), Dani Alves (Barca/Brazil) and Eric Abidal (Barca/France).

Heading into the match, Real Madrid sat atop the standings in La Liga and were undefeated through a dozen games, but in the biggest match of their domestic season the Catalans were artful and ruthless, revealing Camp Nou as the true source for recent Spanish dominance. The mesmeric tikka-takka passing game that made Spain's recent ascendance such a pleasure for football purists around the world was largely honed in the Barcelona youth academy that produced so many of these players.

If the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat on national television on Christmas day by a score of 128-79 then perhaps it would approximate the resounding nature of this victory. But most likely not. And even though we'd all be certain to call such a Lakers result the greatest ever. It wouldn't be. Because of El Thrashico.