Senna & Barcelona; Cheat to Win

If I’m honest, I’m just not a big football fan anymore. Ever since Ronaldo started diving for penalties I’ve just lost interest.
So, when the family headed out to the pub to watch Barcelona and Man U in the grand champions league finale, I reluctantly went along.

What I saw epitomised everything that is wrong with football. Barcelona was easily the better team on the night. Their passing was sublime, and the goals were downright fantastic. ManU were a shadow of their past glory, and being from the better side of the Pennines I enjoyed this fact.

Being from Britain however, I’m distraught at the way the game went in the latter stages. As ManU began to close players down and harass for possession the great Barcelona’s men of skill began collapsing to floor with acting and screaming that wouldn’t be out of place on stage, or a comedy performance.

I’m told this is ‘playing for time’ breaking up the flow of an oppositions attack, frustrating them into making heavier challenges and eventually being cautioned or sent off. “It’s ok, they all do it” my cousin assures me.

Barcelona of 2011 is for me, the Senna of Football.

Senna was great yes. The best? Probably. But ruthless and cutthroat? Definitely. When Senna rammed Prost off the track in 1990 he inspired generations who idolised him to do the same. Michael Schumacher’s famous ‘chops’ blocking any over taking move were the first inspired result of Senna’s classic move. And the now similarly accepted ‘one move to defend’ can be source back to Senna’s battles with faster rivals.

Senna like Barcelona could never accept losing, win at all cost, even if you have to cheat to get there. What kind of message are we sending to the next generation?

Since 2006 I’ve been watching the lower leagues of Football. I have seen men punched in the face, I have seen players rugby tackled as they approached the opposition’s goal, and I have seen these instances go unnoticed from short sighted or bias referees.

This has rarely resulted in arm waving or the victimised player rolling around on the floor exclaiming his leg is badly bruised and it must be amputated at once to spare any pain. More often than not the player would jump back up and sprint at full pace to chase the possession back down.

Even the lower Formulae of racing have this determination. Formula Renault is a fantastic series to watch. Unfortunately its likewise dominated by Red Bull, however the young Toro’s need not ram there opposition out of the way, they merely continue to lap faster, apply pressure and watch the youthful opposition crack and make a mistake or take a chance, go for a big overtake and risk finishing in the gravel trap.

Senna Movie is due out this week. And I look forward to it. Senna is one of the greatest, but because of his ‘dark side’ he’ll never be THE greatest. As a human being, Senna straddled the line of insanity and godlike greatness, but that’s another review.

Senna cheated, and when you consider the crime rates in Brazil, he’s a product of his upbringing. Barcelona, full of pick pockets, cheating their way through life. So to the next millionaire, who wants to start a team, find somewhere full of honest people to base them, whatever the sport, maybe Kenya?

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