¡Oh la la! ¡Varane!
Look at that: six Barcelona players and none of them can contain Rafa Varane (it probably helps that the combined height of the three on his right is more or less equivalent to Rafa’s height). Rafa was colossal on both ends of the field on Wednesday! ¡Partidazo!
Some random thoughts on the game, since I lack the time to make a game post…
First, Zizou is going to make a great coach.
Rafa said after the game, “I felt great. I’m very happy with the game I had, as it’s always complicated to play against Barcelona and the team played well. This was my best-ever game with Madrid and I want to continue like this… the goal is a dream, it’s incredible. Scoring at the age of 19 against Barcelona is the best. Mourinho congratulated me and all my teammates did as well. They were happy for me.” Rafa even came in for praise from Gerard Piqué, who said, “it’s not easy to do this at the age of 19. He has all my respect.”
I have a lot of respect for Carles Puyol, especially in the moment when Piqué headed over to the referee with the lighter than some idiot fan had thrown onto the field. Puyi stopped him, grabbed the lighter, tossed it away and told Piqué to get back into the game. He is a great captain. (On the flip side, we had Xavi – although he didn’t use the word “superior,” as far as I heard, he did say thing such as “we were better than them ,” “we had possession, which is usually the case,” “we missed four goals that we normally don’t miss,” “we tried to impose our style and we achieved that,” and this: “Madrid scored on an isolated play. We played a great game. They lived off of our bad passes.”)
And I love that things seem to be back to normal between the rivals (aside from Leo Messi going after Álvaro Arbeloa in the parking lot with his pregnant wife by his side to hurl insults at him, and telling Aitor Karanka in the tunnel that he was “Mourinho’s puppet,” according to La Sexta.* Such sportsmanship!). The hugs between the players after the game was great and heartwarming! I am confident that we can eliminate Barcelona in the Camp Nou during the second leg on Feb. 27.
To the final!
* José Callejón confirmed that he heard Leo Messi call Aitor Karanka “Mou’s puppet” at his press conference on Feb. 1.