Barcelona rebuild football's image after FIFA wreckage

Super team Barcelona have the opportunity and responsibility to restore the faith in the beautiful game that has been badly tarnished by world governing body FIFA by crowning their exotic football with the European title.


Barcelona parade their five trophies for 2015 Source: AAP

World football is not in a good place at the moment - thanks for that, Sepp Blatter.

And what better way to forget the disillusionment and mistrust that FIFA have foisted upon us all than by watching the sheer brilliance of one of the finest and most entertaining club sides ever seen being rewarded with the biggest prize in club football.

Luis Enrique's stellar team completed a memorable treble in 2014-2015 by winning the Spanish League and Copa del Rey before beating Italy's Juventus 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League final in Berlin.

Enrique has said rather ominously that his men will never tire of winning and his point is amply illustrated by the way Barcelona started the current season.

They snared their first trophy of 2015-2016 when they beat Seville 5-4 in the UEFA Super Cup in Tbilisi in August.

Barcelona have since tightened their defence and are two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with a game in hand in La Liga and in the last 16 of the Champions League.

They ended the year by winning their fifth major honour when they crushed River Plate of Argentina 3-0 in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in Yokohama.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar put on a devastating show of mesmerising attacking football that gave the Buenos Aires outfit no chance.

It was a jaw-dropping display, even by Barca's magnificent standards.

All up Barcelona scored a record 180 goals in 65 matches in 2015, the bulk coming from the South American trio that has become known as 'MSN'.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar are in such exhilarating form at the moment and command so much attention and adulation worldwide that it is easy to forget that Camp Nou also is home to such world class performers as Andres Iniesta and to a lesser degree Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic.

Barcelona today are such a formidable outfit who play the game at a higher level than anything we've ever seen that it is quite feasable that they repeat last year's feats in 2016.
They certainly have weaknesses but it is a measure of the industry and creativity of their midfield and the explosive potency of their attack - plus the belief that they can win any match - that they are favourites to snare La Liga and the Champions League.

Only Atletico and Real Madrid on the domestic scene and Real and Bayern Munich on the European front would appear to stand in their way.

The main reason for this overwhelming favouritism lies in sheer numbers: for every goal they concede they will more than likely score two or three. They are that good.

Even if you manage to shackle Messi you still would have to handle Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta et al.

Barca have stars all over the park and opponents must overcome a challenge cricket teams used to face when playing the great West Indies team of the 1980s: you get openers Greenidge and Haynes out then you have to deal with a never-ending batting line-up of Richards, Richardson, Lloyd, Dujon and Marshall.  

The football world outside Madrid would be more than happy to see the 'Azulgrana' win the final in Milan on 28 May for their sixth European title and fifth in a glorious decade.

If they did that Barcelona would also become the first team since the famous AC Milan side in 1990 to win the world's most important club trophy two years in a row.

While FIFA's shenanigans continue to embarrass the football family and bring shame on the game, millions of disillusioned fans around the world are crying out for something to cheer for, something to make them feel proud of their sport again.

Barcelona are the answer because they are football's feelgood factor.

Muchas gracias Barca! 

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4 min read
Published 4 January 2016 at 10:57am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS