Monday, 30 May 2011

Barcelona's gentlemen crowned greats as FIFA's guttersnipes gun each other down.

Brilliant Messi
What an extraordinary weekend in football. In the Champions League, Barcelona lived upto the hype to produce a stratospheric team display at the very moment it counted most.

At the same time, what started with Lord Triesman's complaints to Parliament over England's failure to win the 2018 World Cup bid has ended in disgrace and ignominy for FIFA. An extraordinary implosion has left Sepp Blatter as the only cowboy standing in the saloon bar shootout. The town ain't big enough for Mohammed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner.

New Wembley's first European final was supposed to be between peers. Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson, already previous winners were aiming to claim a fourth European Cup for their respective clubs. In the end, United were trumped as the Govanator was first to acknowledge calling the 3-1 defeat "a hiding".

Because for all the tabloid headlines of drunken nights, love trysts and horrid WAGs, of bungs, dodgy expenses and allegations, it turns out winning can after all be achieved with grace, fairness, planning and hard work.

Because Barcelona play football the right way. Another concession from the generous Fergie, who looked a forlorn figure at full-time on the Wembley pitch. Beaten thoroughly - every which way.

Football, Bloody 'ell: Forlorn Fergie
Because though Wayne Rooney is a star player, he's not in the mould of one from Barcelona, where foundations extend way, way beyond the 90 minutes of game time. Rooney strayed from his Wembley instructions and Fergie bawled at him on the touchline for everyone to see. So incensed was the 67-year-old, it launched a bilious, coughing fit. Rooney to Barca one day? No chance.

Because Puyol, already a world and European champion at club and international level, who came on toward the end of the game, ducked out of his role as captain in hoisting the trophy aloft, so Eric Abidal, who spent most of the season recovering from testicular cancer could have the honour instead. 

Mes Que Un Club and Football, bloody 'ell, you might say.

Mes Que Un Club
And so to FIFA, where years of conniving and collecting dirt on each other is being mudslung for our entertainment.

The headlines are set to be sponsored by Warner, who unleashing periodic nuggets to the media, he's dubbed a Football Tsunami.

That he uses that word to describe his tittle-tattle is a measure of the man. An amoral urchin, who together with a generation of FIFA representatives are about to get their comeuppance.

UEFA's been growing in status over FIFA for many a year. The formation of the Champions League was a masterstroke, acknowledging the growth of the European city states over their countries. If the 2010 World Cup threw up knackered horses in a steeplechase, this year's European Cup was one for the thoroughbreds.

Now FIFA has no moral authority to govern the game as UEFA looks on at the top of the world game. Michel Platini constantly rejects the notion of standing for the FIFA presidency.

Meritocracy wins the day. The start of a Football Spring?