Tuesday night we went to the mythical Camp Nou stadium to watch FC Barcelona play the current German champion Bayern Munchen for the Gamper Trophy. You can see some comments on the events of the night and the pictures we took in Alan’s blog. I’ll focus here on translating the comments I wrote in Portuguese at my brother’s blog:
I’ve been following Ronaldinho’s career since he arrived in Paris to play for Paris St Germain, a few years ago. It was a cold winter night and I was catching the metro in Paris – where I was accompanying Alan, who was attending a conference – when I saw him at the frontpage of a local newspaper. Living in Canada, I was a bit out of touch with what was going on in the football (soccer) world and wasn’t aware Ronaldinho had left Gremio, his home team in Brazil. And then we had the 2002 world cup, his fame reached new heights and he moved to FC Barcelona. Coincidently, I started studying Spanish history, particularly the Catalan part of the country. And my interest for Catalonia, football and Ronaldinho have merged into a passion for the local team, FC Barcelona – better known as Barça.
Barça reminds me a lot of Flamengo, my Brazilian team. It has a great history and very passionate supporters. The team proudly boasts homemade stars such as the capitain Puyol and the midfielder Xavi, as well as international players such as Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Deco and the recently-hired Gudjohnsen, Thuran & Zambrotta.
Yesterday was the final of the Gamper Trophy against Bayern Munchen, one of the very top European teams and current German champion. Since there were good prospects of a competitive game, tickets were cheaper than usual, and there would be a big party to celebrate the beginning of a new season, I decided to treat Alan to his first football game. As I said above, check his site for his impressions. The party was pretty cool, the environment very festive and full of families, and there were fireworks and light shows for the introduction of each of the players that form the 2006/07 team. Ronaldinho was the last one to be called into the field and the most applauded.
As for the game… Barça showed the kind of game I would like to see the Brazilian national team playing. Group spirit, almost perfect control of the ball, incredible passes, unrelenting pressure (I must say it annoys me to no end when Brazil and other good teams stop playing as soon as they have a favourable score), and a good defense. Bayern showed some battle spirit during the first 20 mins, but there was no way around it. It was a master class and Barcelona was giving it. Ronaldinho open the score board with a perfect free kick and Eto’o scored twice within the following 10 mins. The second half brought in an entire different team – literally, the coach replaced all 11 players to give a chance to the others and to preserve them for Friday’s game – showing that Barça has no B team. The team continued to pressure Bayern and Saviola scored another goal for Barça. Oliver Kahn – the famous German national team goalie – left the field looking pretty sad. And Barcelona showed that which we, Brazilians, respect in a football team: that one can win playing a beautiful and aggressive football.
Sunday they play Seville in Monaco for the Supercup. Visca Barça!!!!