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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

B for Barçelona Football club

I'm a Jose Mourinho fan, and have followed him from Porto from his uefa cup win over Celtic FC to Real Madrid FC #shootme.
But many fans mistake the rivalry between Barça (pronounced BAR-THAH. It's Catalan, not Spanish or English) and Real Madrid to be about football. It's not. It's older than 90% of the world and it was caused by civil war, the worst kind of war.

Apparently General Franco the military dictator of Spain had a special beef for the non-spanish speaking Catalonians and did something so cruel to them, you'd be forgiven for imagining they had offended his forefathers who made him swear to never rest until all of Catalonia was a fading memory marked by traces of blood and ashes.

He banned their language (complete ban. No children may bear native names or speak the language in their homes or schools). He had an able lieutenant/vice-dictator named Santiago de Bernebau (that's right, the stadium is named after him) who thought the best way to get the people to support you was to present them with a 'spanish team' for the government. Real Madrid was chosen and still enjoys support from the Spanish government (PDP isn't the first or the last of its kind).

To top off the insanity of the period, a president of Barçelona FC was being driven in his own area only to be stopped at the 'check-point of death' where civilians would be marched out of their cars and shot to death off-road. Yes, he was killed for being Catalan. Apparently the soldiers involved didn't know who he was. Barça will always remind them.

Other things have added to the fire of Barçelona FC against the Spanish government like the clamor for an independent Basque state, the Basque freedom fighters, etc...and 2 teams have taken the brunt of the beef.

Real Madrid FC and the Spanish National team. Every player that left Barça directly to Real Madrid is always under threat when playing in Camp Nou. Portuguese football legend, Luis Figo, did that switch and could never take corner kicks in Camp Nou because the fans would stone him for wearing Madrid's colours in their stadium.
The second victim is of special interest to Nigerians. The Spanish National team's loss to Nigeria in France '98 has some interesting footage of a 'spanish-looking' man waving the Nigerian flag with more fire and pride than the Super Eagles supporters club. That's right. He was Catalan. In Barçelona, people were rejoicing when another underdog like them broke the back of Spain at the world cup.

Presently, tensions and rivalries between both clubs has become 'civil' and even 'friendly'.

Just so you know, if Jose moves again, I will follow him.

He ain't Jesus, but he certainly knows how to lead and that is by inspiring the inner legend in you to outshine your lackluster life you had before you met him. I'm yet to find any footage as moving as his exit from San Siro and Mazzeratti (a giant in no simple terms) wept like a baby because Jose was going to Madrid. Jose stopped his limo, got down, half-jogged to Mazzeratti and hugged him till he calmed down.

This was about Barçelona, right? Right

There you go. That's my 'B'.
Remi Olutimayin

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