It has taken some effort to write this column. It is far easier and more fun to write one after a great victory. I am sure that every fellow Barcelona supporter is as sad and disappointed as I am.
However, we are all also still very proud of and devoted to our team. The status posts and comments (mainly, but not only, in Spanish) of my Barcelona supporting Facebook friends confirm this. So do the applause given to the team by the crowd at Camp Nou. This team has has given us plenty of joy over the last few years but this was not our week. How one conducts oneself after a result is just as important for your place in history as the result itself. We have always been dignified in victory and now we have been gracious in defeat. I can think of at least one high profile person who is yet to learn this lesson.
So what went wrong? I am not going to dwell too much on the actual games as there is no point and I am sure everyone saw them. We certainly had enough chances to win the tie by five or six goals but, unfortunately, we did not take them. For me, the key moment was us allowing Ramires to score a breakaway goal for Chelsea just after we had taken the lead in the tie and, seemingly, had all the momentum. That enabled Chelsea to go off at halftime at Camp Nou with their confidence restored instead of being totally deflated. We had Chelsea on the canvass and helped them get up.
The second half would have been completely different. Of all the mistakes that cost us the tie, I feel that this was the most crucial. However, we can all be proud of the effort out team gave. We can all hold our heads high. "Ser del Barca es el millor que hi ha" is still true even when a result goes against us.
So what happens now? We still have four La Liga games to play and. of course, the Copa Del Rey final. Winning that trophy would be a nice consolation prize after relinquishing La Liga and the Champions League. Barcelona is one club which has always taken the Copa very seriously and it is always nice to win something. After that, one can only speculate.
I have seen at least one article (Bleacher Report) hypothesing which players may be sold. I have seen at least one article (ESPN Soccernet) raising the possibility that Pep may not continue as coach. Barcastuff reports that Pep will announce his decision on Friday, first to his players and then to the club. Is there a significance in that? Another article (Yahoo) has raised questions about possibly changing our style of play to make it less easy for teams to "park the bus". We have been linked with enough new players to almost have a new team.
All I will say is it is certain that there will be some changes in personnel. There always are. Personally, I feel that only a few changes are required. Whatever they are, I hope that they make us an even better team.
So Chelsea are in the final and they will play Bayern Munich. Yes thats right, Bayern Munich!!!
Our great rivals, Real Madrid, lost their semi final a day later in a penalty shootout. By the way, does anybody know if the ball Sergio Ramos blasted into orbit has been found? Ramos can always make us laugh. His penalty was even funnier than him dropping La Copa from the bus last year.
Real Madrid's result has certainly lifted spirits for all Barcelona supporters, including me. I have been able to give this column a happier ending than it would have had yesterday. I am sure that many Madridistas spent the time between the two games gloating at our demise. Well, now they can stop.
Both teams have failed to take their chance to reach a very winnable final. The two results show that there is nothing certain in football. However, there is no doubt that both teams will be strong contenders again next year.
I have to make one parting comment for the haters, especially the Madridistas who, no doubt, were revelling in our disappointment.
Barcelona will get our trophies back but your team/s will never be held in the esteem that Barcelona is.
Posted by: Drago, Columnist at Culé Talk