Crisis in Spain

Did Barcelona collapse under the weight of some whopping egos?

Catalonian giants preparing for a mass exodus

Puyol

Should you be wandering past a giant television set playing tonight’s Barcelona game, be sure to give it a quick glance and a nod, because chances are you won’t be seeing this group of players so spectacularly failing together again. It should never have been like this.

Taking their cue from the film Escape to Victory (Pele, Ardiles, Bobby Moore, Sly Stallone) or the Real Madrid “Galacticos” (Figo, Zidanne, Roberto Carlos, Beckham, Ronaldo, Raul), the Catalan side made big steps in building a superstar team, only to come hugely unstuck – realising that big names don’t always gel (Abramovich take note). Henry, Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto’o would be the star players at practically any other club in Europe, but Messi has seriously messed with their chi, and stolen their thunder… by being utterly brilliant. Hence, over the summer months expect to see them disbanding, all harrumphing off to different corners of Europe (mainly London) to be soaked in the kind of glory they demand.

Of the smaller names, defender Eric Abidal is rumoured to be Liverpool bound, Iniesta has been approached by Real Madrid – with gigantic figures like 60 million Euros being hurled around – and Zambrotta has failed to light up Spain regardless of his impressively sculpted mini-beard, and could be heading back to Italy where they love fashionably assembled stubble.

As for the swollen-heads in the dressing room, all of them have been rumoured to be off. Ronaldinho to AC Milan (or into the wilderness) amidst talk of serious clubbing issues, Eto’o has been linked with Spurs, Henry has been moping around whining about how Spain isn’t anything like London, hence he looks set to be reunited with his family and/or Arsenal.

Deco is likely to be thrown back into Europe after a mixed season. And even Messi might be out – in the direction of Chelsea for a gazillion pounds. No doubt he will spend the majority of next season frustrating their galacticos to tears with his zany flicks and skills. Expect to see Joe Cole get seriously depressed.

Plus their daddy, Frank Rijkaard, is leaving as well – or, at least, so says The Sun.

With the possible exception of the time Chas and Dave played on a Labi Siffre album (Remember My Song, 1975), this is proof that supergroups just don’t cut it.

So what next for Barcelona?

To find out how the drifters will fare against Real Madrid in El clásico tonight, head to chickendinner


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