There have been speculations among Nigerians this morning that veteran…
By Leonard Uyanwanne
It didn’t take much to realize that last Sunday night’s Supercopa encounter and yesterday’s 2nd leg had a strange ring on Barcelona. The Blaugranas have over the years built up a compelling fear-factor no matter the opposition they faced.
When two great clubs have a history of going neck and neck with each other for most part of well, their history, having a scenario where one suddenly becomes a ‘main man’, dominating the other like they were never a match in the first place, an overpowering factor is mostly the cause for such turnaround of tables.
With the early days of Pep Guardiola came what many will regard as a cheat code – Lionel Messi. When you place a perfection patron like Pep to oversee a bleeding raw talent like Messi, what you get is the breathtaking dominance that took place at Camp Nou from 2008 to 2012. They won 15 titles.
The Spaniard left afterwards citing what an Hercules task it was to motivate players that have won every trophy there is to win. Messi still carried on acting as The Blaugranas’ cheat code for unlocking the most stubborn of defenses.
However, age and time would soon come calling and the Argentine captain’s pace started heeding to nature’s beckon and with that came the clamping down of his influence. As expected Barca’s decline followed suit since a flower can’t bloom for eternity nor can it be more alive than its source.
But before Messi came on board Barcelona have always had a plethora of players from one generation to the next who functioned as the team’s focal point. Before Messi was Ronaldinho and before him? Ronaldo, Romario.
So Messi needed an heir to pass his torch to. Thus came Neymar Jr. the Brazilian had long mesmerized the South American faithful of the beautiful game, starring at Santos and picking up individual and team accolades along the way.
The Samba boy joined Barca in 2013 and before long formed one of the most devastating attack line ever witnessed throughout football history – the MSN triumvirate. After scoring 105 goals in 186 appearances, not to mention the soul-draining creative burden he lifted off Lionel’s shoulders, the Barcelona board room members and their leader Joseph Bartomeu curiously failed to tie down the 25-year old with heart bearing trust and an ‘un-payable’ buy-out clause.
Say what you will of the Brazilian’s “greedy” desire to be his own man and not in the shadows of another till you honestly ask yourself if Neymar would have really traded an assured trophy laden future for weekly encounters with the Angers and Amiens of Ligue 1 if he felt the kind of love Barca showered on Messi.
Look at them now. Reduced to a team in need of an Everton flop Gerard Deulofeu’s help to unlock a Real Madrid defence. Laughable. Messi meanwhile looked wearied as he used to be before Neymar’s arrival. The jiggling of flesh beneath the satin blue of Luis Suarez’s jersey suggests the Uruguayan can’t even run to save his life not to talk of Barca’s.
The only one who could was Neymar Jr. but for some reasons we may never know, they failed to tie down the only doctor who could have come to their rescue on Sunday night as they bled away to a 10-man galaticos while the Camp Nou stood watching with silent fears and broken hearts, the same happed at the Santiago Bernabéu last night.
Leonard Uyanwanne is a brooder of life in general, he loves washing it down with a toast of poetry and a heavy dose of psychedelic rock.