Appetizers

The greatness of a party can be measured, among other things, by the number of snacks displayed for your enjoyment. There are bags of pipes and thanks, like most of those that are played in the group stage of the Champions League, and there are crabs, mussels, scallops patty and some fruit to degrease, like the one they played PSG and Manchester City. “Party of the rich”, some were outraged in the previous one. They are the same ones who, until four days ago, cheated the Christmas spirit by sitting a poor man at the table, as in Plácido, which in soccer language translates into signing what you want and hoping that the selling club, above all, will give you the thank you: there are the newspaper libraries for those who do not prioritize a minimum amount of phosphorus in their diet.

Seeing my father come and go from the kitchen to the living room, with two or three dishes in hand at a time, reminded me of the days when I was the host and my friends stopped by to watch the big games each season . Guardiola’s Barça gave a lot to football, but it left me financially stiff and with half the necessary signatures stamped on a divorce agreement: collateral damage of the supervening happiness. But beyond tastes or colors, the truth is that it is hard not to catch the passion that Catalan puts into the business, a bit like when one sees Mad Men for the first time and feels an irrepressible desire to start smoking. And not just any tobacco, no: Lucky Strike, like Don Draper and Roger Sterling.

The other Sterling, Raheem, was left on the bench yesterday because his coach likes to attack with hardly any attackers, at least in the strict sense of the concept. The offensive movements of Guardiola’s teams begin with a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon. Or in Ortigueira, depending on the rival and the game. “I do not understand how it can be that Gabriel Jesús or Agüero do not play”, said a radio commentator during it. What we lacked: it is no longer enough to enjoy the Catalan’s tactical handling, now we also want to understand it. What he had in front of him, a powerful aircraft carrier with Neymar, Mbappé and Di María in the forecastle, barely circled Ederson’s area in the entire second part and that, however you look at it, is an anomaly that can only be explained by admitting that we hardly ever understand anything.

“There is half a pie in the kitchen,” my father said as soon as the game was over. In his own way, he understands Guardiola better than many of his critics, bent on belittling rivals and inventing patches instead of enjoying the work. Also the nature of football and celebrations. “Be careful with the anticipated party, they take it away from you,” Arsenio Iglesias once warned the Coruña parish. The echo of his words is, at this time, a butterfly flapping its wings in the Orzan that can catapult Manchester City to the final in Istanbul and the more or less scientific realization that the aperitifs are neither more nor less than that: appetizers.

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