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07 January 2013

FC Barcelona

Those who know me know that, after family, friends, and books comes FC Barcelona.  It has been a pleasure to watch my team these past few years, and as Leo Messi has just won his record fourth Ballon d’Or and I am in a euphoric fan paradise, here are five favorite moments for my beloved Blaugrana over the last five years

5.)The Manita: Barcelona beats Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side 5-0 at the end of November, 2010.  As much as I love Barça, I hate Jose Mourinho.  He’s the type of guy who pokes other coaches in the eye, literally.  Watching his smug look evaporate at the same time I watched one of the single greatest team performances was wonderful.  The thuggish behavior of some of the RM players at the end of the game reflects on their coach as much as on them.

4.).  A shot from the heart.  Having won all other major tournaments that year, Barcelona were looking to win the club world cup against a valiant Estudiantes in 2009 and time was winding down.  The score was tied one all when Messi ghosted to the back post and met a cross with his chest.  With the clock running out, Messi literally struck the ball with the Barcelona crest, with his chest, with his heart.  Sometimes the best stories are the ones that are true.

3.) The tears.  After winning all six trophies in his first season as coach of the team in which he grew up, Pep Guardiola sobs tears of joy after winning the Club World Cup.  What he has given to Barcelona fans is beyond words.

2.) Taking off the shirt: Iniesta celebrates his World Cup Goal.  Ok this isn’t strictly a Barcelona moment, but it does involve one of their greatest players.  After scoring in the dying moments the goal that would give Spain their first World Cup, Andres Iniesta removed his jersey to  reveal a message written on his undershirt reading “Dani Jarque, siempre con nosotros.”  Dani Jarque was a rival player for Espanyol, the other team in Barcelona, and a close friend to Iniesta.  Jarque died of a heart attack the previous year.  Iniesta received a yellow card for his gesture, which stood in sharp contrast to the cards issued during the game for some very unsportsmanlike behavior.  Iniesta related what the moment and the message on his shirt meant to him: "I did it because I felt it deeply. It showed that what is more important than rivalry, your team or your colours is to be human and a good person. I am delighted because it was the most important moment in my career."  The gesture also leads me to my number one favorite moment.

1.)  Iniesta is sung off the pitch at  El Prat.  In his first game against Espanyol after the World Cup, Iniesta was substituted late in the game.  The Espanyol fans, who hate FCB almost more than Real madrid fans, stood up and sung Iniesta’s name as he walked off.  I got chills. In that moment, everything right with sport happened.

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