An Open Letter To Barcelona FC
Dear Barcelona players, coaches staff.
Firstly, I would like to extend my congratulations to you for reaching the European Cup final for the seventh time in your 111 year history. It is of course, a wonderful achievement, and you will exercise the privilege to play against the English Champions Manchester United at the wonderful stadium that is Wembley in North-West London.
As I am absolutely sure you have heard countless times, your football can often be quite stunning, with “out of this world” passing and movement, ferociously graceful and relentless attacking ability and football players with stunning quality. Yes, it is true, you deserve to be in the final on your footballing merits.
However, there is another side to your team which fans and admiring pundits often hide away from. Many are so blinded by the talent that the team possess, they are distracted, or perhaps use selective viewing to ignore many of he areas most unwelcome in a fair game. I am sure you would also like to gloss over the subject I am talking about, and allow the praise to rain on you without a hailstone knocking you out.
Well put your umbrella’s up, because the hailstone is coming, and it’s been coming for a while now.
Cast your minds back to your Champions League semi-final, and even fans, admiring pundits and neutrals all over the world could not cover for you as they watched as you used disgraceful, anti-footballing tactics to gain the advantage. What am I talking about? I’m sure you already know – after all, you were the ones committing the offences. Diving? Gamesmanship? – Cheating?
I know this would be the point when you would like to stop reading, screw up the letter and forget what I say, muttering furiously under your breath about how wrong I am, and how your football is what the world wants to see. “Cheating” is of course, a very strong word, and a terrible accusation, but unfortunately, the name of Barcelona may forever be associated with it if you do not stop.
If you are still reading, then I would just like to ask a few players in particular who will be playing against Manchester United on Saturday a question. Dani Alves, Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Javier Mascherano, this next message is aimed at you:
Bear in mind that not everyone will be at Wembley on Saturday. Bear in mind that millions will be watching on televisions – high definition televisions, with the added advantage of slow motion replays. Please, please, please, would you refrain from diving, or I, and many other football fans around the world will need a new television – and a new window, because the two may be colliding viciously if we see any what was seen in the previous Champions League games.
Reluctantly, I wish you good luck for Saturday, as I very much hope that Manchester United v Barcelona will be a fair, diving free zone, and will not go down in history as a farce of a game. I also hope that the referee of the game is not in any way influenced by outside party’s, and I hope he will not need to reach for his pockets and little black book to withdraw some cards – whatever colour.
I do not want to see a repeat of the red for van Persie when you played Arsenal, nor do I want to see a repeat of the first leg of the Real Madrid semi-final.
Thank you for your time,
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