Saturday, 24 August 2013

The New 5 a-side visit the Nou Camp in Barcelona

Mr Tnfive reports on Barca's opening game of the season against Levante


Last Sunday, TN5 made their first ever visit to the home of Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar and the rest. The temptation to see arguably the greatest player ever, in possibly the greatest team ever (even if they are not quite at the level of 2 or 3 years ago) at home at Camp Nou was too much to resist.

With tickets about as easy to get hold of as rocking horse poop, I was ecstatic to be able to purchase two seats at 60 euros each for my son and I. We were all set. Neymar's debut, Messi back to his best, Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi in midfield, surely we'd be in for a treat. One thing I really wanted to see was Messi scoring at the Nou Camp. As he scores almost every game, surely we wouldn't be disappointed.

On the day of the game we made the short trip on the Metro towards the stadium. As we came out of the station the crowds were already gathering. A short walk later and the stadium came into view. The Nou Camp in all it's glory. Taking in the atmosphere, we made our way to our gate and once through we went up and up and up. And then we reached our entrance. As we stepped out the tunnel, the pitch and full stadium came into view. Only half full at that time, but WOW! What an image. A magnificent view of a magnificent arena.


As kick off approached, the ground filled to capacity and the singing started. Although we don't speak Spanish, my son and I were able to join in the singing and clapping with the rest of the crowd, he was loving it! Then out came the players, to a tremendous roar. No Iniesta, no Neymar (both were on the bench) but there was Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Busquets, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alex, Pedro, Valdes and Adriano. We sat back in anticipation of what was to come.

Opening fixtures are often slow and cagey affairs as teams look to find their feet. And we had to wait a while for this one to get going - two minutes! Inside 100 seconds, Barca had carved open Levante for Alex to tap home. We were underway. But would I get to see my Messi goal? I didn't have too long to get my wish. 10 minutes later it was 2-0 and a clever ball through to Pedro was pulled for another tap in, this time by the master Messi. It won't go down in his top 10 goals of all time (probably not his best 100) but I had seen Messi score, and no one could ever take that from me. It was 3-0 shortly after, with Dani Alves finishing after Fabregas effort was saved. The game as a contest was over, but the way Barca played was like watching fine art in motion.

The Great Man - Messi

Pedro made it 4-0 with a fine finish from an exquisite Messi pass, before Messi treated us to a 2nd from him - this time from the penalty spot. It was carnival mood as Barca created chance after chance. Just before half time was the icing on the cake. Xavi, one of the reasons I wanted to see Barca before the great man retires, got on the scoresheet. I wanted, and almost expected, to see Messi score but seeing Xavi score was a real bonus for me. 

6-0 at half time. Although the game was over, Barca still pressed and created more chances. Neymar and Iniesta came on to great applause (two more I can tick off and say I saw play) and it was 7-0 soon after when Fabregas set up Pedro for his second. The quality of Barca when in possession continued throughout, although there were to be no further goals. 7-0 it ended. Both my son and I had experienced a magnificent spectacle that will live with us forever. If you're ever in Barcelona, make sure you take in a game. If you're not in Barcelona, make a special trip to see a game! It is worth every penny.

And when this great team does eventually fade, when Xavi hangs up his boots in the not too distant future, when Iniesta, Fabregas and the rest call it a day, when (or if) Neymar goes on to be a legend, and when the greatest player ever (in my lifetime anyway) finally hangs up his boots, we can both always say we saw them play at the Nou Camp and it was very, very special.

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