Barcelona in recent seasons has been lauded as potentially the greatest side in modern football. However, does this fluid and total football playing side have any flaws? One may argue the club showered with praise should act accordingly to their stature. But, it’s been disputed frequently that the club is so vehemently branded “the best in the world” that it requires them, at times, to stoop to new lows.
Has this great team fallen victim to jealousy, or other factors leading to this negative outlook on the club? Jose Mourinho continually bombards media outlets with phrases along the lines of “Barcelona is already in the final.” Maybe this is his mind games in action, or a deeper rooted issue of conspiracy? Despite, the negativity from Mourinho, Barcelona still plays a fluid and exciting brand of soccer.
In recent seasons Barcelona has been favored with refereeing decisions going their way. Cases such as the 2009 UEFA Champions League semi-finals against Chelsea, Robin van Persie’s dubious second yellow at the Nou Camp, and most recently this week’s Champions League game against Milan where they were fortunate to win two penalty decisions. Some may argue it’s not Barcelona’s fault they’re gifted with refereeing decisions going their way. But others question how frequently this happens in favor of the Catalan side. Barcelona continues to be the club you love to hate — the team that infatuates many by the way they play, a team with so many positives, but one that has a thorn of negativity thanks to refereeing decisions going their way.
The one gaping reason many believe this fable of Barcelona is the perpetual antics of Sergei Busquets, a player who embodies the good and the bad of Barcelona. Many remember his infamous antics against Inter Milan, but also, his passing and footballing ability. Some may say every soccer club needs a Busquets. A player who can bait players, gain free kicks and show a different dimension to the club. However, his acts, at times, border on idiocy — the simulation and distasteful falls damper the football of Barcelona. Despite the glaring flaws in the otherwise faultless Barcelona side, the team possesses so many positives such as their progressive youth team, their scouting system and their famed La Masia academy — an academy which continues to produce world class players of the ilk of Leo Messi and Xavi. This suggests this club is truly cementing its legacy in soccer history.
But how will they be remembered? Will the controversy associated with Barcelona affect how they’re remembered? How will this Barcelona team be seen in the future? Will it be seen in the same light as those sides before it? Will it be alongside Sacchi’s Milan, Shankly and Paisley’s Liverpool or Cryuff’s Ajax? Time will tell to the extent in which this Barcelona team may achieve. Already with the greatest player in world soccer, will Barcelona be the greatest team too in the archive of cheaters?