Fins i tot abans del sisè títol i de les llàgrimes de l'entrenador, que culminen de manera simbòlica aquest 2009 blaugrana, el NYTimes es rendeix al joc i al model futbolístic del FC Barcelona, en aquesta anàlisi de Rob Hughes sobre els efectes de la crisi econòmica al món del futbol.
«Messi, the little man from Argentina, has eclipsed Ronaldo for the player of the year titles in 2009. His essence is that he is a team player, and his team, Barça, has garnered all the trophies available to one club in one season. Not only that, Barcelona has raised the game back to beauty.
With Messi down either wing, with Xavi picking out passes as if by the instinct of a homing pigeon, with Andrés Iniesta and Thierry Henry, and now with Zlatan Ibrahimovic replacing Samuel Eto’o as the focal point of attack, it has a style so easy on the eye, yet also so competitive.
Madrid has support from the Spanish institutions prepared to help it pay more than its means to try to ensure that Barcelona does not keep running away with all the prizes. Madrid’s policy was to buy — not just Ronaldo, but also Kaká, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso and others in a single summer.
What it cannot buy is the roots of Barça’s beauty, its renowned style. That is a product of La Masia, the school built on an 18th century farm in the lea of the club’s Camp Nou stadium.
“The player who has passed through La Masia has something different to the rest,” Coach Josep Guardiola said. “It’s a plus that comes from having competed in a Barcelona shirt from the time you were a child.”
Guardiola knows, because he passed through the school and played for the first team for a decade before graduating to be its coach. One of his players, the meticulous Xavi, has just played his 500th senior game in the shirt.
Xavi is a born and bred Catalan, a child and now a man of F.C. Barcelona. But though Messi was born abroad, Txiki Begiristain, the club’s technical director, insists, “Messi’s from Argentina, but he was formed in our house.” Indeed he was, from age 13.»