NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Four for Luis Suárez, three for Leo Messi...


Who gets to take the match ball home? That was the question raised at the end of the game. It has been a few years since the British tradition of a player who has scored a hat-trick being awarded the match ball as a memento was brought to Spain. On Wednesday night Luis Suárez scored four and Leo Messi three. The solution was simple: a ball each. We are living in times of opulence in some spheres, and football is one of them, so a ball here or a ball there won’t be missed. So they got a ball each. On both, it is safe to assume, their teammates will also have left their mark, a reminder of a glorious evening. On the other side of the coin is Valencia’s anguish, after being hit for seven. 

Barcelona are tremendous when they are in the mood but a few days ago Atlético left Camp Nou with a 2-1 loss, also playing with numerical inferiority, and in their case a more serious deficiency that, if I may be permitted to say so, was also more deserved. Valencia conceded seven, a full bag of tricks. It is sad to see Valencia in this state. Things have occurred in recent years that have left the club in a whirlpool of confusion. The thrashing meted out last night was simply a brief resume. An erratic squad under a debut manager, with an inexperienced president and a first-time owner. All three of whom are from far-away lands.

It was a shame to witness Gary Neville’s face; the hard-working full back who tasted so much glory as a player and then acclaim as a pundit, which Peter Lim thought sufficient experience to coach a club of Valencia’s stature. Many good managers have passed through Mestalla and they all knew that keeping their job was the same as trying to stay on a rodeo bull. It wasn’t a surprise that Barcelona knocked seven past this feeble side, 14 individuals in search of a leader. Among them was Denis Cheryshev, whose presence rendered the drama crueller still. I can’t remember a more miserable night for Valencia.