In the name of Barcelona, we need Jose

9 Mar

With Jose Mourinho‘s success with Inter Milan last season, criticisms on his “ugly” football start to come under the spotlight as well.

To be “ugly” or not, this is a problem.

But not anymore when last year Spain was crowned in South Africa. Plus they also won the Europe Cup two years earlier, “beautiful” football has reached its heyday with a combination of the way it is played and the result.

Sharing the same football gene with Spain, Barcelona made its way to a top European club.

However, interestingly, they did not even make it to the Champions League Final. They were blocked in the semi-final. By whom? Morinho’s “ugly” Inter.

Is “beautiful” football actually making the game beautiful?

I’m afraid not.

Take Barcelona as an example. They just beat Arsenal in the Champions League knock-out round for last 16. In the second leg they dominated the game by possessing the ball for 76% of the time according to ESPN, leaving their opponent chasing shadows.

An even more embarrassing fact is that Arsenal did not even make one shot – they made the score level for a time by pushing Segio Busquets to commit an own goal.

Such a one-sided game will only be enjoyed by supporters of both teams. For neutral fans it is a rather killing game like this:

A “beautiful” ugly game

For opponents of Barcelona, an open game is almost equivalent to a loss. As strong as a team like Real Madrid (in the sense of the squad) can lost the game to Barca by 0-5, you can really not hope too much but for losing by less goals by Barca.

So the logic makes the opponent tend to stay in a defensive formation. Voila, it is like a training session of Barcelona again.

Too strong to be beautiful

For the sake of football, there is no doubt that Barcelona is on the right track. They have pushed the aesthetics of football to another crest, by involving lots of short and quick passes, and incredible speed and flexibility. Leo Messi is just a definition of the football that Barcelona is playing now. It is beautiful, by itself.

So why is Barcelona actually ruining the game?

Apart from the defensive position that their opponents will choose, another reason is that Barcelona have not find an equivalently strong opponent who also play “beautiful” football.

Arsenal’s games are supposed to be quite enjoyable, as their manager Arsene Wenger has well kept the Latin heritage for the northern London club.

But when they meet Barcelona, they are like pupils playing with professionals. No offence, but the match is still dominated by the Spain club.

Had we have another Barcelona, it must be quite interesting when these two teams meet together. Then it will be the testimony of the true beautiful football.

The match will be quite balanced between two teams having the same philosophy.

Let there be Jose

That’s why we need coaches like Jose Morinho, whose philosophy is rather pragmatic and based on muscles and strict execution of tactics.

Since we cannot see another Barcelona to occur in the near future, we need an “ugly” team who is equally strong as Barcelona (in the sense of both the squad and tactics!).

Then it will be a clash of two completely different types of football philosophy. The game is not necessarily made more beautiful for neutral fans, at least it will be quite interesting to see how these two teams will define the direction of the world football.

The 2010 World Cup semi-final between Spain and Germany, and the final between Spain and Holland almost made it.

This process should probably take five to 10 years, when teams of both types divide champions.

Therefore to make this happen, Jose still have a long way to go.


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