One of the highlights of our trip to Catalunya was experiencing “El Classico” – the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona. 😎
There was really only one place in town to watch the game, the Sitges Sports Bar, with its plasma screens and Barcelona memorabilia plastered all over the walls. We arrived a couple of hours before kick-off and had a bite to eat, which turned out to be a good move because it guranteed us a decent seat as the place soon filled up. By the time the game started there were scores of people stood outside watching through the windows. 😯
The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant – I’ve never experienced anything like it. The whole place was rocking, with everyone singing and shouting before the game even started. The staff played the Barcelona Anthem to stir up the crowd before kick-off and again each time there was a goal. Everyone, young and old alike, jeered and hissed abuse at the Real Madrid players for the whole 90 minutes. 😛
Having become used to watching stale, lacklustre performances at Old Trafford the game itself was a breath of fresh air. Fluid, passionate, attacking football from both teams with superb displays of individual skill. Samuel Eto’o opened the scoring after 15 minutes and the place went wild. Barcelona enjoyed better posession, with the young Argentinian Leo Messi impressing every time he got the ball – definitely one to watch for the future.
Ronaldinho stole the show in the second half with first-class solo efforts, drifting in from the left wing and effortlessly beating a couple of players before slotting home neatly. Twice. Even the Real Madrid fans applauded. I still can’t believe that United allowed him – arguably the best player in the world – to slip through our fingers for the sake of a couple of million quid. 🙄
Edit: Roy Keane left United by “mutual consent” while we were away, undoubtedly a direct result of comments he made about the quality and commitment of certain teammates and criticism of the management, training and tactics. Well said Roy! Thanks for the memories, especially Turin ’99. I’m sure he’ll be back at Old Trafford in some capacity one day.
Edit: George Best passed away today. Links to BBC News and The BEST page. R.I.P.