Saturday, September 22, 2007

Barcelona Versus Sevilla

Barca 2 Sevilla 1

No Ronaldinho tonight, not sure why exactly he was left out. Perhaps they were just resting him, but then I’ve heard he was benched since his form wasn’t as sharp—seems ridiculous.

Sevilla were dressed in a new pink strip and Barca in their traditional set. A full crowd roaring Messi’s name as he imitated Ronaldinho’s hang loose trademark after each of his goals. Henry hit the post once, setup Messi once, and glided along a few times as if he was in England.

At first I was almost going to write about how Henry isn’t going to fit in with this side. They are too good and play the play too sharp and quickly for him, doesn’t that seem ridiculous to write. But in the first half there were three or four moments where Iniesta or Deco played the ball in to Henry, who was always posting up, and were looking to play the ball back to Henry but he wasn’t ready and miss controlled the return ball.

Then, there were a few times where Henry was in on a clean header but missed connecting to the ball. But jump to the second half and a new Henry appeared. He’s always best when he gets the ball on the wing, and he can go at players and serve balls in. He did just that, lasering a ball into the feet of Messi, whose first touch put the ball up in the air, but he was able to nail the ball on the volley.

Later, there was a quick one two with Henry and Deco and then Dos Santos, where Henry first timed the ball in a lovely manner right into the path of maybe Deco or Messi without breaking stride. It was a quintessential Ronaldinho, Deco, Etto, Xavi, Messi—the Barcelona collective type moment, where they seem to know where one another are all the time and delivery the extra one touch pass that almost seems too much but works. I can’t wait to see more of Barcelona and Ronaldinho and Henry and Dos Santos and so on. Great stuff to come.


After both Messi goals the Argentine paid a very public tribute to Ronaldinho by holding 10 fingers aloft for the "injured" Barcelona No 10. Ronaldinho was not in the stand alongside the other injured men, Samuel Eto'o and Carles Puyol, to see the show of solidarity.

Barcelona claim he was having treatment on the calf strain that had kept him out of the game – an injury that 70 per cent of fans, responding to a poll organised by the Barcelona paper Sport, believe not to exist.

It seems being accused of breaking a 48-hour pre-match curfew before the Osasuna match 10 days ago, being substituted twice in his last two appearances and being whistled by some home fans in the midweek Champions League game against Lyons, were the real reasons behind the Brazilian's decision to rule himself out of the Seville game.