With La Liga barreling down the tunnel towards an end result that promises to be impressive and unpredictable, the last El Clasico of the season brought the typical side-show that everyone now expects from the rivalry. However, this time, it was papered over by a truckload of goals…seven of them, to be exact. The typical post-match whining from both clubs as they bickered a bit followed, but we are now almost two weeks removed from that game and both clubs have turned their focus back to the Champions League and their remaining La Liga games…actually, it seems like this is not the case.
After three La Liga games (two for Real) and a Champions League fixture, both clubs are still fighting over an alleged stamp by Sergio Busquets on Pepe. While there is no doubt that Pepe deserves whatever punishment he receives during the rest of his career based on the pain he has dished out, the fact that players are still making statement about this shows how ridiculous the Barca/Real match can get.
First, there is no doubt that Busquets did step on Pepe’s face. Images and video replay are indisputable on that fact and it is extremely amusing that the Barcelona defensive midfielder actually refutes the event even happening. However, after spending too much time reviewing the incident myself, any truly malicious intent seems to be missing. Busquets does not look before he steps and, considering the off-the-charts number of dog-piles that occur around the referee during this game, it seems unlikely that the Barcelona man would have seen or expected anything different when he approached this group of complaining players. Yes – it happened/ No – it was not a stamp.
Now that the game is over, nearly every player on the pitch (and even some on the bench) have made comments about the foot-to-face situation. Real Madrid players are adding fuel to the fire of the “UEFAlona” garbage and also speaking about how terrible the act by Busquets was. Whether or not they are hoping for retroactive action remains to be seen, but most of the Madrid players would not mind Barcelona missing one of their starting 11 as the season continues. Casillas even said that Busquets will be receiving a slap from the Spanish #1 when Iker sees his international compatriot. My message to Madrid would be: Move on and start focusing on the remaining La Liga fixtures and their pursuit of a tenth Champions League title. My message to Barcelona would be: have Busquets apologize and try and help everyone move on.
There is no doubt that Busquets should apologize for this…any person that has felt the pain of an SG-style boot to your foot can only imagine the hurt it would cause if it was on the side of your face. However, everyone else should just move on. This extension of the story for this amount of time only serves to show why El Clasico has become more of a circus act than a football match. If these types of issues arise every time Barca and Real meet, then there will come a time where people will actually stop tuning in. We love drama in football…but we certainly do not enjoy pettiness…move on, please!