Kevin McCallum Masthead
April 27 2012 at 08:00

Well, now we know. Barcelona are rubbish. They’re finished as a team, as a club as a city. Should you drive out of Barcelona, do not look back lest you turn into a pillar of salt. Lionel Messi is over-rated, Pep Guardiola is just plain lucky, while Cesc Fabregas is just an Arsenal reject.

Real Madrid’s exit at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday night confirmed that La Liga is merely a richer Scottish Premier League, with Rangers and Barcelona duking it out for the title “team deepest in debt”. But, it wasn’t fair, was it. Barcelona are a better team than Chelsea. Barca lost to a team that came not to praise football but, apparently, to bury it. Jose Mourinho, who is still miff at the goal that wasn’t against Liverpool, slapped down that notion on Wednesday night and set a new record for the use of the word “nothing” in a press conference.

“John (Terry) is missing but Chelsea are there [in the final] and that is the most important thing,” The Guardian reported Mourinho as saying in that special way of his. If Chelsea was the Adam and Abramovich God, then Mourinho was Eve just after the big referee in the sky nicked a rib from him for his missus. “I just hope it is a good final and of course I want the Blues to win, even though I have a lot of respect for the reds. I have a blue rib, still. Inter and Chelsea mean a lot to me,” he added, just in case, you know, Abramovich was looking for a new coach sometime soon…

“I think Chelsea's boys were heroes, absolute heroes. Some people think they are the masters of the game and they will criticise Chelsea in the same way that they criticised Inter two years ago, but they know nothing. Nothing,” said Mourinho, believing you say it best when you say nothing at all. “They know nothing about character and personality. They know nothing about the effort or what it is to resist physically, emotionally and technically, with 10 men. They know nothing about organisation. They know nothing.”

So, nothing then. Chelsea gave Barcelona nothing. Barcelona took nothing from them. John Terry showed that he has nothing in the top two inches of his head. Messi had nothing left at the end of the match, no explanation for how the greatest player of his generation could not pull off a pass as sublime as Fat Frank Lampard’s to set Ramires free for what was the coolest finish in the most scalding hot of situations. The heart he showed, and that of Didier Drogba and the display by Petr Cech was what makes football great.

Barcelona weren’t rubbish. Messi isn’t overrated. Chelsea were just stronger and up for the fight. It happens. It is our good fortune that it happens. We’d hate sport if it did not.


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