BarcelonaSummer announces its arrival and with it, come goodbyes. On his penultimate night of football before being relegated, the Camp Nou sent Sergio Busquets off in the best possible way, seeing him lift the Liga title. As expected, this title. Nights of sweet memory, the ones that are so sorely missed after years of suffering. After the explosion of joy of the last week, Barcelona fans were able to celebrate in the stadium a title that has been sweated for, suffered and needs to be claimed. The match against Real Sociedad was important for the Basques, not for the Catalans. And despite everything, Barça wanted to play like a champion, but it didn’t work out. But when you relax, performance drops. And Guacil’s team took advantage of this to take a step forward towards the Champions League (1-2).
Real Sociedad took the points, a reward for a stable project. And Barça lifted the League, despite being anything but a stable club. What sweet madness, this club. With Mateu Alemany who is now leaving now staying. With Messi leaving and who knows if he will return. With the whole club leaving for Montjuïc, to return. With shipwrecks in Europe, but a League that brings a lot of joy in the hands of Busquets and Xavi, who were able to dedicate the triumph to the fans. “Without you we would not have been able to win this title, thank you for the support. This has only started,” he said thinking of a future in which he will no longer be there. Xavi, who quoted “the skin goose” de Cruyff and president Laporta, also wanted to thank the support after a defeat that didn’t hurt. Nothing prevented the fans and some players from celebrating together a success that has cost so much. “I asked for union with Barcelona and it is time to give thanks. Presi, we’re not that bad” let go the coach, before flying towards the sky buttered by the players.
After the heartfelt tribute to Ferran Olivella, a Barcelona player who left us a week ago, Barça went out to play with a smile from ear to ear and a sufficiently offensive team. Xavi offered Dembélé the left wing, with an electric 4-3-3 where Kessie took advantage of the spaces to enter the second line. At an offensive level, Barça generated enough, but in defense they easily cracked. Right from the start, a loss in the middle of the field allowed Mikel Merino to make it 0-1. And with the first goal in their pocket, the Basques settled in with a 4-4-2 that allowed them to do damage on the counter in part thanks to the work of Zubimendi, the midfielder that Xavi desires. Kounde was in evidence on the day he was finally central and lucky for Ter Stegen, who avoided 0-2 a few times. Remiro also avoided the draw from Dembélé and Raphinha, electric. Lewandowski, on the other hand, appeared little. The losses of Pedri, Gavi and Araujo were too heavy. Despite being a struggling team, these three players have been the backbone of Xavi’s Barça. The best allies of a Ter Stegen who was left alone against danger.
Xavi, competitive, removed a thick Kounde from the field at half-time and brought in Marcos Alonso. The challenge was to close the season with more points, more joy and few goals conceded. But hangovers are complicated and the team, instead of growing, became less centered. Every Basque counter-attack hurt and every Barcelona attack frustrated the players, like Raphinha, who celebrated the League title with a hairstyle more striking than his game. So Xavi brought in Ferran and Ansu. And the young people? He doesn’t quite trust them, just yet. Not even now that the League already has Barça’s name engraved on a silver plate. The changes, however, did not help. The game was heading right where it interested a Real Sociedad solid and beautiful as a sculpture by Chillida, the artist who was the Basque goalkeeper. And Zubimendi, as if he wanted to vindicate himself, played the ball to a De Jong who was too alone to create the counter for Sorloth’s 0-2. Ter Stegen will still have to suffer to achieve the record for the goalkeeper with the lowest goals conceded average in La Liga history. He doesn’t like conceding goals, in German. And he already has four in the last 110 minutes of play.
Real added water to the wine, but could not prevent the Barça party, which reacted too late with an imperial Lewandowski header in the 90th minute. It was a match destined to be remembered for what would happen at the end, when the cup was handed to an excited Sergio Busquets who received a standing ovation with five minutes to go, when he was replaced by Eric Garcia. After four years, Barça once again has the cup at home. How many things have happened in these years. Messi has cried, there has been a pandemic, there have been elections, scandals and joys. Xavi has returned home and Barcelona fans have suffered defeats that hurt. Of those that test the loyalty of those who have been able to get excited about this League. An act of love in the midst of complicated times. As Martin Amis said, love is the only part of us that is solid, while the world goes crazy. And the heart of Barcelona is solid. Bombproof.
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Balde, Kounde (Marcos Alonso, 46′), Christensen, Alba, Busquets (Eric Garcia, 84’9, De Jong, Kessie, Ansu Fati, 63′), Raphinha (Ferran Torres, 46′) , Lewandowski and Dembele (Pablo Torre, 86′).
Reial Societat: Remiro, Elustondo, Zubeldia (Pacheco, 81′), Le Normand, Diego Rico, Illarramendi (Gorosabel, 58′), Zubimendi, Cho (Take Kubo, 58′), Merino, Barrenetxea (Pablo Marin, 73′) Sorloth (Carlos Fernández, 81′).
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