Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, December0 02, 2010


The Fall of the Galacticos

By Osama Rahman

'Its going to be Barcelona 3-0. Laugh now, but it has been foreseen'---- Random Goal.com comment.

The atmosphere at Camp Nou was much more than electric. The masses had gather to witness the battle between two of the greatest teams in the world. As General Mourinho marched his team into the field admidst boos, it felt like Napolean had just entered Italy. Beside the Whites, Catalonia's favourite boys marched along. Pep Guardiola looked nonchalant, a direct contrast of the arrogance exuding-aura permeating from Mourinho. The whistle signalled the start of El Classico.

Even the most casual observer would have noticed the first difference in the two sides. While Real Madrid was a bundle of nerves, Barcelona played with Pep's flair and somehow also inherited Jose's swagger. Messi curled the ball in early only to be denied by the post. In 10 minutes, Xavi drew first blood, sending Barcelona 1-0 up. If this was to be met with renewed resistance from Real Madrid, well that did not happen. Mourinho remained seated, observing the exchanges with a mild interest. ' I have beaten Barcelona before with Chelsea and Inter.' The Read Madrid manager's pre-match words were coming back to haunt him. Pep stood in his place, gesticulating wildly. While one manager showed reluctance, the other showed energy. Their teams followed their leaders, Barcelona running rampant, while Read Madrid tried soaking it all up timidly.

8 minutes later, Villa was found unmarked on the left-side and he rushed towards the penalty box. Sergio Ramos was slow to react, and Villa's ball went between Casillas' outstretched hands, reaching Pedro who nudged it into an open net. Marcelo's man had gotten away and inability to mark became a feature of Real's game for the remainder of the match.

The heat finally reached its peak when Pep refused to give the ball to Ronaldo, when it went out of play. Ronaldo roughly pushed the Barcelona gaffer, only to incite the supporters and especially Victor Valdes, who charged from his box to confront Ronaldo. Such a despicable act by a superstar of Ronaldo's calibre was unexpected, but then the heat of the game does have its effect. If Ronaldo's reaction converted all neutral supporters, then there was more 'batparey' to come from the other side as well. A tough tackling Carvalho urged Messi to get on his feet, which the latter did, only to fall back down due to the slightest of nudges from the defender. This too was disgraceful.

The rest of the match is history. Messi played in Villa twice, thanks to some lax defending once again on Sergio Ramos' part. Jeffren added the icing on the cake with another bit of brilliant team-work, to make the score 5-0. The match ended with some controversy, when Sergio managed to get sent-off, tackling Messi in one of the worst challenges. Then he went on to knock down Puyol and Xavi. In the process he divided the united Spain even more than ever before. If he escapes punishment, it will be an example that no association wants to set.

The battle was lost. Mourinho's seemingly infallible Madrid had been destroyed and left for the dead. Moruinho stood defiant, as once a famous French General had. 'One team played well and scored the other team played badly and did not score any goals.' These were his parting words. Mourinho's ego took a huge beating and once again Madrid were left humiliated, despite what the Portuguese says. Its 5 out of 5 for Barcelona and the next stop is at Santiago Bernabeu. All hell is about to break loose, once more.

P.S- Messi totally outshined Ronaldo as expected. Pep was NOT technically superior than Mourinho and can never ever be!

Last week we presented the topic The Day I Died and the entry below stood out. Other than just depictions of death, it worked towards something completely clichéd, yet different. This week's topic, The Rat Race. Entries have to be written within 600 words and sent to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before midnight Saturday.

The Day I Died

By Jack Package

Your know those Facebook pages that say “I'd die just to see who attends my funeral” and you frown seeing it has almost a million 'Likes'? “They've got sad lives”, is all I'd say every time I saw one. And there I was, waiting anxiously as the dawn inched closer, for my death was scheduled in the next hour.

A couple of days ago, my good friend had come to me with his latest 'invention' - a pill that would 'kill' its consumer without actually killing him. As if that wasn't sci-fi enough, its creator claimed that taking the pill would put me in comatose state for a day while my soul would be freed, like those spirits in Ghost Whisperer stuck on earth. Call it unscientific, preposterous or plain creepy; I took the leap of faith…in my friend's inability to succeed. Not very difficult once you know the same guy tried to create a time vortex with a hair-dryer.

That puts me, on my bed, supposedly dead and waiting for people to realise. The usual wake up call (actually, scream) from my mother and nothing for the next thirty minutes. Suddenly, my brother walks in with a marker and draws on me a moustache in blue. I don't flinch, but he's obviously too engrossed in my moustache, until Dad's footsteps are heard, and he hastily pulls my arm to wake me up. Somehow, he realises I'm not about to wake up. He calls my mother in a distraught voice and soon enough, a supersonic explosion occurs in my bedroom. Before I know it, I'm in a hospital and my 'well-wishers' are pouring in. Well, we'll see.

Walking through walls without being seen takes a little getting used to, but it's strangely amusing. Most of the women are impeccably dressed and quite jolly - I realised quite a few of my 'close' relatives were just dropping by on their way to have weekend brunch. Nonetheless, I didn't find out anything I didn't already know. Except overhearing my brother on a phone call vehemently describing his new guitar to a friend, which sounded a lot like mine. He plans ahead, definitely.

A visit to the love of my life proves to be more intriguing than our average date: she was preparing for one - with a tic-tac-toe champion. “How does that game even have a champion?” I ask myself, admiring her taste for diversity. I follow her back to the hospital where she sheds an ample amount of teardrops in front of my friends, until she needs to go back home and rest. What follows is a make-up session and finally being seated in my favourite restaurant, next to Mr. Champion. The Manager, upon hearing the news, frenziedly reaches out for his ledger book, checks to see that I had cleared all dues yesterday, breathes out a sigh of relief and greets his next customer with a warm smile. That's customer loyalty, for sure.

The day goes by, without causing collateral damage to my heart. I decide to take a stroll on my yard before my reincarnation. But wait. Is that my dog playing with my neighbour's cat? The same dog that I taught to bark menacingly at those puny cats whenever he saw them? And the dog did just that for the past three years…in front of me. Was that entirely pretence? A hollow sham?

I watched, frozen. A part of me had died.

But right then, a nonchalant, jubilant soul was born.

And suddenly, I realised that the phoenix doesn't die just because it's cool to rise from your ashes, but because life is too awesome to stop living.


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