Monday, April 1, 2013

The Joy of Seeing FC Barcelona + Lionel Messi in Person

I get off the Metro with the large crowd and blindly follow them to what I assume is Barcelona stadium to see the most famous Spanish sports team play in La Liga, perhaps the top soccer league in the world.
A half kilometer later the stadium unfurls itself, flags waving from atop the structure as the crowd pours in.
I purchase my ticket from a scalper for 30 Euros (about $40) definitely not a cheap ticket and a demonstration of how soccer crazy the Spanish are.
warm-ups at a FC Barcelona game
I find my seat at midfield., much better than expected, and am taken with the friendly nature of the fans. As they announce Barcelona's starting line-up the crowd cheers after each name, as opposed to  England where the hooligans smash beer bottles on each other's heads.
It's quickly apparent that Barca is the superior side, just a matter of time before they put one into the net; Messi hits the crossbar with a free kick.
Scoreboard at FC Barcelona game

check out this video and get a feel for the atmosphere at Barcelona stadium

My favorite moment of the game was when an opposing player believed he had won a ball cleanly and was called for a foul, expressed his displeasure by booting the ball far out of bounds, promptly earning him a yellow card, and a derisive chant of "Loco, Loco, Loco," from the crowd. (crazy, crazy crazy) I'm proud to say I participated in the chant.
FC Barcelona on the pitch
Watching Messi Play

Watching Lionel Messi play is probably like watching Babe Ruth play baseball in the 1920's, or Michael Jordan play basketball in the1990's. He is so superior to the other players, you sense it immediately when he touches the ball, and you don't even have to know soccer to aware of it. He scored twice and assisted on the other in Barca's 3-1 victory.

And by the way, to all you people who say soccer is a boring game to watch; it is Far better in person than on TV. In being able to see the whole field, you understand why players make the decisions they do. You gain a better feel for the speed at which the game is played, and the skill involved.

Should You go?
By all means, if you are in Barcelona when a game is played, and can afford the price, absolutely go. The atmosphere is far more family friendly than England, with their famed soccer hooligans who are only looking for an excuse to fight and cause mayhem. That just doesn't exist here.
All the fans seemed to enjoy the game, and it was definitely a highlight of my time in Spain!
"Barca! Barca! Barca!"

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