So after my last football rant, I decided to lay back and enjoy football for the beauty it really is. No more killing myself over Arsenal, no more fandom for me, I’ve found out it is easier to live life without the pain of constant heartbreak. I have learnt to appreciate the beauty of the game without bias and support football for the way it is played. I can now freely shout myself hoarse when both teams score wonderful goals and not be bothered about anything. It is a slow learning process though; sometimes, I forget my oath and revert back to my old ways but I am swiftly lashed back to the path of righteousness by the sorrow that has been buried so deep in my heart. Away from all that though and down to the business at hand; it’s the Champions League semi-final and the selected match to be talked on is my personal favourite: Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid.
Now after the round of 16 where Bayern Munich humiliated Arsenal, I thought to myself that this Bayern team might still have it in them to go for another Champions league title; already, they were faltering but maybe it was not so bad that they could not go for another title shot. Real Madrid on their own end made mincemeat of Schalke 04; it was like watching the boxing match between Vitali Klitschko and our very own, Samuel Peters where Vitali dealt painful blows and beat up Peters ruthlessly like an abusing parent. Madrid walloped those boys like little kids and I surely knew they were going to pose a serious threat to Bayern’s title challenge. None of them had it as rosy in their quarter-final matches as they both suffered scares, Bayern at the hands of Manchester United and Madrid at the hands of the previous season tormentors, Borussia Dortmund. In the end though, they both overcame and set up the epic clash that kept me on the edge of my seat and let me have the most footballing fun I have ever had in a long while.
Now, heading into this match, Bayern were already showing their lacklustre side. Pep Guardiola’s boys were now a shadow of the demons that Jupp Heynckes brought up. Heynckes’ boys were the team that beat up, sorry raped, the almighty Barcelona without even batting a sweat. They were the team that scored 55 goals in 10 games, they were the team held the German league spellbound. Very few teams could dare to hold a candle to their ever-blazing light. And it was a sad thing to see Jupp Heynckes go and even sadder to watch the beautiful run-and-gun style of football we had come to love and enjoy from the Bayern team be replaced by Pep Guardiola’s laid-back style of passing the ball around till it wears down your opponents. It might work for those simple-minded clubs in the German league but this is the Champions league here, be serious. (First of all, Guardiola don cast) I have watched some few matches from Bayern this season and the drop in performance is so glaring to the eye. They just pass, switch wings. Pass, cross the ball, pass some more, some poor fool makes an attempt to shoot, it gets deflected, pass again till the ball is taken away or kicked out of play. Guardiola’s previous managerial attempt in Barcelona has obviously engrossed him so much he feels like he can mould this Bayern team to become the tiki-taka team he is used to (Iro nla!!)
Madrid, on the other hand, brought forth a very complete team, from the defence to the attack it was perfect. Casillas with his experience in goal, Pepe and Ramos who constantly remind me of Gandalf’s “You shall not pass”, Coentrao as the left back, the machine Carvajal as the right back, the well-experienced Xabi Alonso as an effective defensive midfielder, (Sir) Luka Modric in the midfielder as a pass master as well as the play-a-maker of the team, Angel Di Maria with his bag of skill and trickery, Benzema as the ever-present striker and finisher for the team and the two most expensive players in the world. Now, Ronaldo has been tried and tested and proven to be one of the greatest players to have ever graced a field and kick the round leather game; his bounty of skill is unending, his speed like lightning, his shots like Zeus’ thunderbolts and his jumping and headers are unrivalled and unequalled. He is with no doubt, the world’s best. Bale, too, has proven to be a valuable asset to Real Madrid (Saying asset is just me being generous or too mind blown to think of any other word to describe him with; the dude is just freaking insane). This is the guy that made Marc Bartra curse the day he decided to mark him (Bale) out, he made Bartra look like a second-hand Peugeot 504 trying to catch up to a Bugatti Veron, like the Leviathan, he will think of that day and never do it again. This team was too complete; I looked forward to an epic clash and was gladly not disappointed.