A few hours after a new installment of the classic, Xavi Hernández claims to be euphoric: they will have their reasons. He doesn’t sound elated. He doesn’t look elated. He does not seem euphoric. We believe that he is euphoric because he says so himself —he knows himself like no one else— and because arguing according to which statements does not bring any benefit except to lovers of sadism. “It makes me go to the Bernabéu,” insists the Barça coach.
To me, who hardly know him at all —I loved him from afar, yes, and I was happy accumulating great memories to the sound of his baton—, Xavi Hernández reminds me of the guy who “danced without letting go of a suitcase with dirt for his own burial.” Such were the characters of the Savoy, the slum that José Luis Alvite invented so as not to have to deal excessively with reality. And so is this Barça, tossed about by inheritances, debts, intrigues, fines, dismissals, injuries, promises, scandals and that, despite everything, remains on its feet —at least for now—, dancing with his suitcase in hand: manipulating the earth to allow himself to be swallowed or buried, again, by his greatest rival.
That maximum rival —which turns out to be Real Madrid for sociopolitical reasons, more than football; it’s enough to stretch depending on which gum-, he arrives at the game with the same irritated rictus of recent years. Nothing seems to calm an angry court team, sentimentally on the defensive, in need of a daily fire to maintain the body, a new enemy in each corner, and a new corner in each date that twists the calendar. His latest trouble has to do with some prizes that are of no interest to anyone, including a national coach (ours) who voted as if he were at a party with friends where the orange and lemon prizes are distributed at the end of the night. The blaze of fire, however, was taken by a David Alaba who preferred Leo Messi over Benzema, Vinicius, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben or Robinho, with all that this implies in a club with solid traditions and due loyalties.
Madrid arrives better in sports despite the reprehensible spectacle last Saturday against Atleti. The League was not his war, but it could be again in less than a week. In his hand he has to deal a very severe blow to this euphoric Barça del Xavi (supposedly) who falls in shock every time he opens his eyes and discovers himself competing without Pedri or Araujo in the forecastles. It seems that the Uruguayan will be part of the game, so his foreseeable duel with Vini Jr. could mark a tie in which more titles will be played than a simple Cup: Ancelotti would do well to explain it to Alaba more than once, in case perhaps
In the stands, which is where one lives and dies according to what was agreed in stone, this idea of the friendly clubs that Pérez and Laporta promote with small mouths for common interests still does not catch on. The Negreira case is one more proof of such a curious cordial agreement, with Real refraining from gesticulating excessively while its bases exhaust the alphabet soups to denounce corruption even on the edge of the plate. “It’s like finding out that Unidas Podemos is handing out candy in the Salamanca neighborhood,” a culé friend analyzes the case for me. He looks euphoric, like Xavi, although instead of a suitcase he carries a backpack: running away is often an option.
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