BARCELONA -- Sometimes you have to eat … so you can gain strength … to watch more futbol!
I am in Barcelona for a few days, checking out Antoni Gaudi's architectural curves, hopping up and down on the most efficient Metro I have ever ridden, sampling the amazing little tapa plates and watching as my girlfriend tries to put her own personal dent in the Spanish olive and cava trades.
But, being me, I'm never far away from my soccer. For instance, while touring the amazing Sagrada Familia, I got all giddy checking out a 90-year-old photograph that showed a soccer field right next to the ongoing construction site.
I will see Barcalona meet Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday at the ginormous Estadio Camp Nou., Europe's largest ground by capacity (99,000). We like to complain amongst our little soccer circles about how things work in MLS, or about the big pot holes along U.S. national team boulevard. Well, just so you know that It's a highly imperfect world out there, even in regal La Liga, dig, if you will, this picture:
We will see Barca-Rayo in Round 17 of La Liga. While this is, officially, Barca's Round 17 match, it falls curiously in between last Saturday's Round 14 contest and this weekend's Round 15 contest. Got that? I suppose it's all about the flex scheduling as the TV tail wags the dog, but it is rather goofy.
Saturday's arrival was mostly eating and killing time before Iniesta, Messi and the rest of the Barca boys played at Getafe. The futbol lovers in this beautiful city are in an absolute tizzy, because a "disastrous" loss to Getafe meant Barca are now six points behind Real Madrid. Six! I mean, how can Barca possibly come back by May? That's sarcasm on my part, but conventional wisdom here suggest it might not, in fact, be possible. I like Barca, and have since the 80s because it was the side of Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels and other Dutch stars.
Still, I'm not as emotionally invested, so I'm not having a Spanish cow about the whole thing, as some others are. Besides, it means Tuesday's match at the Nou Camp will be that much more important. My 39 euro tickets may have just climbed a wee bit in value.
I'll have more later. If you want to know more about Barca, meanwhile, check out this wonderful Barca blog on the SB Nation network.