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A Message to Real Madrid and Barcelona Fans

Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain puts an arm around Argentina <em>teamate</em> Lionel Messi
Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain puts an arm around Argentina teamate Lionel Messi

Matchday Three of la Liga kicks off tonight, as I'm sure many of you know. There have been international breaks and strikes, and finally we will probably be permitted to fall back into the pattern of week to week Primera Division, with week after week of excellent goal scoring skills and blow out victories. Week to week of watching our team win. Week to week of disappointment when our team draws a single match that could be the end of their title race. Business as usual.

I may be exaggerating, I might not. It depends on what you think today's la Liga is becoming. It depends whether you care or not.

I know I'm probably going to get scolded for bringing this up again, but for all intensive purposes, the internet wasn't working.

In the past few weeks, we have seen meetings about t.v. rights and accusations pertaining to the murder of the Spanish Liga. And as fans, we sit back and discuss the same things. Barca fans argue with Real fans and vice-versa:

"This is your fault! You're rich!"

"No it's not. You make silly buys."

"We have a youth team."

"So do we!"

"Ours is better! We're mes que un club. Of course we have a better youth team."

"Has anyone ever slapped you?"

And so on and so forth. That is the nature of the Spanish league. For madridistas and whatever nickname you call Barcelona aficionados, there is no "the grass is always greener on the other side."

But this time, aren't we both in the same boat for once?

We are both fans of titans of Spanish and European football. Small clubs probably tremble when they hear that they have to visit the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou. I have had the ultimate pleasure of visiting FC Barcelona's stadium and I was scared for the opposition. And I'm a madridista to boot. No one can deny that our two formidable clubs have scary stadiums and equally scary talent.

No club in la Liga is expected to come close to winning the title. That's not an opinion. That is a fact. The gulf in class is too huge. It's not a gap, it's a canyon.

But why should we care? Our teams are winning. Our teams are scoring off the charts. Our teams produce beautiful football day in day out. We have the pleasure of watching two players and two clubs battling for supremacy week in and week out. There's nothing wrong with wanting that.

Whether the change will happen or not is not the point I'm trying to get across. It's whether we should want any change to happen in the first place.

And in my humble opinion we really should. Why? It's because we don't turn on the television, turn up the radio, or power on our computer for the match because we want to watch sweaty guys run up and down the field chasing a tiny ball. We can put some children in the park and get the same thing.

We watch because of the buildup of play and the excitement that we feel when our team presses on the counter. Or when our team passes intricately around their opponents to make men look like idiots. We are addicted to the adrenaline rush you get while sitting on the couch, leaping to your feet when the ball finds the back of the net or screaming at the screen if it doesn't. That's what this sport is all about. We love it when our teams are at their tantalizing best.

And nothing pushes a team to perform better than another team.

If la Liga were to improve only slightly, we Real and Barca fans should be happy. Football is a competition, after all, and it's only a competition when both sides have a chance of winning.

So as you sit back and enjoy tonight's matches, I ask of you one thing: Imagine the possibilities of an improved la Liga. Imagine what a different game you could be seeing if the opposition didn't need to put 10 men behind the ball or humiliate themselves if they tried to fight back against the likes of Cristiano and Messi. Imagine if la Liga wasn't so predictable.

Don't you get excited just thinking about it?

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