World Soccer views and news
Bad times return to Camp Nou
On Sunday night, after five years of calm, Barcelona fans finally exploded. The white handkerchiefs — a common way of showing frustration in Spain’s stadiums — were out, against the club president, the coach, the players … anybody involved in what seems set to be a second straight trophy-less year.
More precisely, Sunday’s exhibition was against the perceived apathy of millionaire players who appear to move ever more slowly, as if they weren’t in the match at all.
People have had enough.
Ronaldinho, the Brazilian who brought magic, enthusiasm and decisive goals two and three years ago to the Nou Camp, is now injured and will miss the most important matches of this very mediocre season. As for Thierry Henry, the fans have pretty much given up hope.
Only the youngsters Bojan and Giovanni seem hungry for titles, but their youth make it difficult for them to resolve the crucial matches at this point in the season.
Barcelona now face an “easy” quarter-final against Schalke 04, having won in Germany 0-1, but the fans aren’t excited. Winning and passing on to a probable semi-final against Manchester United isn’t an encouraging prospect to most fans, many of whom just want the season to end so changes can be made, heads can roll.
People are not hurt about the team not winning so much as what looks like a lack of interest and involvement. ”Menys millons i mes collons!” they shout. “Fewer millions and more balls.”
PHOTO: Henry takes a breather during the Getafe game, April 6, 2008. REUTERS/Albert Gea