Sleepless night for a Barca fan after a 6-1 win!

Messi and Dest - the stars for Barca in a 6-1 win

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 6-1 last night. Messi and Dest each scored two; and the French musketeers Griezmann and Dembele scored a goal each.

As happy as I felt at the end of this goal fest a few hours later I just could not sleep. Why? 

Of all those goals that were scored, which was the best? That was the debate that kept playing in my mind as the images of those goals and the voices of the goal scorers kept popping up in my head. It was like a presidential debate except that there were soccer players standing at the podium each trying to make the case for their work of artistry. 

Griezmann spoke first and readily conceded. “ First, let me say very happy birthday to me! I was very lucky to score the goal that I did. Dembele, whose poor finishing cost us the Champions League continued to finish poorly and I just happened to be there for the rebound and had an easy tap-in. The credit for that goal goes entirely to Jordi Alba whose brilliant run and “nutmeg” to get the ball to Dembele was pretty special.” There was polite applause as Griezmann left the stage and walked away graciously. 

Sergino Dest who had just become the leading American goal scorer in La Liga spoke next (Yes, 2 goals is the most any American has scored in La Liga!) “I finally scored, guys! Just for that I deserve the award for the Goal of the Match. I did not hit the cross-bar or the post, didn’t hit the side netting and didn’t find the goal keeper, come on what more did you need” There were mild guffaws around the room. Dest continued, his tone getting decidedly more serious, “ Ok, the first goal I scored, I saw Messi, managed to stay onside and timed my run perfectly, took just one touch to control the ball and then unleashed a lethal shot that found the bottom of the net. And yes, on my second goal I did get a deflection from the defender but I was there at the right time as Jordi made his stunning run. I must add though that I was absolutely in awe of the run that Jordi Alba made - that pass to himself and that run around the full back to the far corner and then to make that beautiful pass - stunning!” 

Dembele spoke next “ Attente, ecoutez-moi he started off in fluent French. Seeing the blank stares he switched to English. Look, I know every Barca fan is pissed with me for fluffing those two attempts in the Champions League and I am still feeling bad. But my goal today was really special- and it was all me. I made a 35 yard run, took on 3 defenders and rifled in a stunning strike to the bottom right corner beating a 6’4” goal keeper at full stretch”. As he shuffled away, all eyes turned to the magic man. 

Messi spoke last. In his quiet unassuming style he gave all the credit for this first goal to Sergio Busquets, who he said was “ one of the most under-appreciated people in Barcelona and indeed Spanish football. I don’t know of too many players not named Messi than can chip a ball from 25-30 yards away and land it perfectly on a 6 inch by 6 inch square plot perfectly placed to land near my left foot on the second bounce so I can just toe the ball in past the goal keeper. My second goal I owe to the brilliant play of Alba and Ricki Puig whose give and go and give ultimately led to the ball finding my feet.” Turning to Koeman, Messi said “ Coach, it’s time to give Ricki at least 5 more minutes of playing time!” Koeman nodded like a happy coach who had just received a special birthday gift - gratis advice from Leo. 

Barca were spectacular yesterday and not just in my dreams. An alien dropped in from another planet would never have guessed they were playing a top five La Liga team who at one point not so long ago were second in the league. Every one of those goals was special but my personal favorite was the last goal simply because it was classical Barca “tiki-taka” and involved Ricki Puig! The rapid fire passing from Messi to Alba to Ricki back to Alba and then finally back to Messi who then squeezed the ball in the near corner inches away from an off balance goal keeper was just beautiful to watch. 

Let’s also raise our hats to Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets - even though they didn’t score, they were absolutely sensational throughout the game. On the defensive end apart from two momentary lapses of (defensive) reason from Frenkie De Jong in the 24th minute which almost gave Real Sociedad the lead, and in the 36th minute from Ter Stegen that almost led to an RSO equalizer, Barca were nearly flawless. It took a moment of blinding brilliance from substitute Barranetzea to deny Ter-Stegen a well deserved clean sheet. This team played like the great Barca teams of the first half of the previous decade. 

Imagine how good they will be when Ricki Puig starts playing from the 80th minute now!

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