I was lying on the bed, with thoughts of tuberculosis walking about in my mind. No. Not that i've been infected by the bug, just that i'm having a 2 week posting of the subject. The room, my room was as usual full with people looking for a place to watch the game. Chelsea vs Barcelona, Stamford Bridge. Semi Final of the European Cup. They don't come bigger than this.

The score was 1-0. The blues held the upper hand.

Lampard tackles Iniesta on the screen. And me, playing the role of an unpaid, unprofessional, unmerciful commentator spoke a few discriminatory words towards the Catalunian.

"Is that what the press calls one of the greatest players in the world at the moment? Give me a break."

But little that i knew, Iniesta would have the last laugh that night. With a minute, maybe seconds of time remaining, the room thickened with tension and full of anticipation for one of those nights, people were restless waiting for a miracle.

Daniel alves crosses the ball. A bit overcooked to the far post for Eto'o. Essien fails to clear Eto's mistaken first touch and the ball rolls to the quick feet of Messi. Iniesta waiting for the ball just outside the box (not a pass again!), receives it and with the touch of his gifted right boot , donning the yellow Nike Total 90 Laser (my dream boots) swings it, his body balances, his heart pounding from the endless runs on the pitch and he pumps his soul into the shot, that shot...

There was this moment of breathlessness, a momentary loss of consciousness on my part...watching the ball hit the net was like watching a movie with a twisted ending. Who would've thought that a goal could be so crucial. What a moment. The room exploded into choruses of shouts and taunts to the negative Chelsea approach.

El anti galactico. El Illusionata. El Iniesta. The humble catalunian.

And the fracas after the game rivals the one we are having in Perak. Drogba is a disgrace.

It was a triumph of football. Chelsea's tactics lost to a team playing free flowing football. A triumph for the neutrals.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, for i am a Liverpool and Real Madrid fan, to see 2 arch nemesis, Barcelona go head to head with Manchester United in the final. But they both deserve it, it's a dream final for all football fans.

Both chasing domestic and continental successes, both boasting 2 greatest talents in football in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, both displaying entertaining football. What more can you ask for? (i would ask for a Liverpool presence in the final of course, duhh!)

It was not only a victory for the neutrals, but victory for both clubs and their policies. They share an idea of integrating youth with experienced, seasoned players. When Giggs and Scholes started out, there were Pallister, Robson and Bruce setting firm examples. Now Giggs and Scholes have themselves become living legends and role models to a new generation of players. They do spend their money, but their most valueble assets are those who went up through the youth ranks.

Barcelona, a great city with a great culture. Football culture, i meant. Pep Guardiola was an accomplished player himself and set an example for future players. Now Xavi, Puyol, Iniesta are fast becoming legends of Catalunia for future players to follow suit. Busquets. Pedro. Even Messi came through the youth system, receiving injections of growth hormone day by day.

What an investment. Growth hormones. Maybe now they're investing in genetics and may produce more Messis and Xavis in the future? Is cloning the next level in football?

I would be damned if that ever happens.

Now, i hope Liverpool will follow suit. The scousers of Gerrard and Carragher are slowly waning off. They have a solid youth team. Nemeth. Pacheco. Watch out for these 2 in the future. But Benitez is still keeping them and waiting the right time. I say, now is the right time Rafa. Unleash them.

The stage is set. 27th May 2009. The European Cup final. I'm anticipating a cracking game.
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