Friday, December 25, 2009

Inshallah (Barcelona v Estudiantes Club World Cup Final)

The locals got their wish. Their very own superstar delivered the goods with a goal from his heart to proclaim Barcelona as FIFA Club World Cup Champions of the World.

The truth of the matter was that he, proclaimed World footballer of the year the following day, and he alone (well maybe not...remember the title of this piece) was the catalyst for Barcelona winning the trophy. An uninspiring display against Atlante was brought to life by his introduction and in the final he stood out for his intelligent use of the ball during the game and then elevated himself to immortal status. Normally you would describe this as head and shoulders better than the rest. Not Lionel Messi, he has to go one better. Head, shoulders and chest better than the rest.

Barcelona v Estudiantes Club World Cup Final

The day itself was firstly notable for the absence of the Congo fans, as for the first time since their introduction to the tournament I could hear myself think. Their non stop cacophony of noise and their lead dancer entertained us all, (but I do prefer it when the noise relates to the action on the pitch).

Estudiantes fans began the day in good voice and baited their opponents outside the ground as they had many more fans in evidence as they warmed up for the evening's match. They could be heard throughout the 3rd place play off game, which Pohang Steelers won on penalties.

Barcelona v Estudiantes Club World Cup Final

We waited for Barcelona fans to make themselves heard during the final but it was evident that Estudiantes were the ones whose passionate fans had made the trip in more numbers.

It wasn't till the end as Barcelona piled on the pressure that chants of Barza from the locals resounded around the stadium. Finally the Estudiantes fans were silenced as with just 1 minute and 45 seconds of normal time left Pedro equalised. From then on their chants got stronger as they knew what was going to happen. Chants of Messi were far louder than that of Barcelona as the locals' dreams were brought to life.

Barcelona v Estudiantes Club World Cup Final

As I left the stadium a local banging a drum chanted Messi's name......whilst wearing a Real Madrid shirt! I am sure the local will be back next year probably wearing a Messi shirt whilst watching Real Madrid.

© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com

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