Recently, I was on a business trip to Barcelona and YES, it was football related. During the four days of work, extended by another four days due to the volcanic ash situation, in which Europe was in a complete MESS, I had the privilege to witness something very special. Let me reiterate, SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL! That something special was watching FC Barcelona play live in Camp Nou.
Former RCU TD/Coach and Barca Fan Greg Petersen
I must put a disclaimer out first before I describe my experience and observations. My two favorite football clubs in the world are Ajax and Barcelona. Always have and always will be. The reason is simple; they promote a style of football I truly believe in, not only as a fan, but as a coach. Nothing gave me greater satisfaction last years Champion's League when Barcelona defeated Chelsea.
The match I saw live at Camp Nou was FC Barcelona versus Deportivo La Coruna, a match Barcelona won 3 – 0. Even though Barcelona was not in the best of form that night, you could still tell you where in the presence of a very special team made up of some very special players, supported by incredible fans that I would call “one big family” who happen to live in the best city in the world, and the match being played in a stadium that is truly one of the wonders of the world of football stadiums.
Camp Nou: From the outside, Camp Nou does not look as big as it does from the inside, but once you enter the stadium, the visual is absolutely stunning! Even someone like me, who has seen a lot of Europeans stadiums, seeing and being in Camp Nou for the first time is a somewhat spiritual experience. I was very fortunate that my host had tickets right on the field. I was so close I could talk to the players. Watching the match from these seats was incredible. The seats also gave you an incredible perspective of the stadium. I'm still in “awe” how people from the very top deck even get to their seats? Friend or Foe of FC Barcelona, every true fan of football must experience a match at Camp Nou once in their life!
Camp Nou filled to the rafters.
The Team: The current squad of FC Barcelona, even if they don’t win this season’s Champion’s League trophy (I still say they will!) , will still go down in the history books as one of the special teams in the history of football. Watching players like Xavi, Messi, and Alves play live is very special, but even more special is watching this group of players play as a collective unit.
Attacking-wise, there is not a better team in the world. There ability to create scoring opportunities with their possession, passing, positional play, and individual flare is unsurpassed. All of this done in the name of “team”.
As we know, FC Barcelona is known for their attacking qualities, but to see them defend, especially after loosing possession of the ball is just AMAZING! I truly believe there is a Superman. If you don’t believe me, just watch Daniel Alves lose possession of the ball and watch him get it back!
Barca, not a lot of tall players there.
One interesting observation I would like to share... Out of the starting 11 in this match, other than Pique, Marques, and Toure, everyone else was probably less than 5 foot 10 inches. It just shows that size is not really an issue when you have players with serious technical qualities combined with intelligence, strength, and incredible explosiveness. Players who don’t possess these qualities really stand out against the norm here at FC Barcelona. With the current roster, players like Marques will probably be playing for another team next season. Even a great striker Imbrahmovic needs to prove he can fit into this squad.
Considering all of this, one of my main purposes of this trip was to review a trial of a 13 year old American player who had a week long trial at Espanyol and a one week trial at FC Barcelona recently. The player did exceptionally well, and most likely, he will be back in Europe full-time in August. It just funny to hear he not good enough for a MLS Youth Academy because of his size, but he is good enough for top European clubs. Go figure?
FC Barcelona Fans. One big family who love their team! God help the visiting opposition. Watching Barca fans in action is like seeing one body with many heads, but with same eyes and thoughts. Their expectations are high, but so is the level of play being played at their home Camp Nou. Watching them in action at home is very special! I am a fan!
Barcelona. My most favorite city in the world! If you have not been, put it on your places to visit. If you been there before, you know what I am talking about.
I hope everyone is doing well back in Northern Alabama. I look forward to posting my 2010 NPSL Southeast Division season preview (Coming soon to the PWT-blog!). It is going to be a very competitive competition! Go get your Rocket City United season tickets. There might not be a better value for your money in whole country.