Maybe some of my culé friends won't like the comparison, but Pedri's goal last night for Barcelona against Galatasaray reminded me of Emilio Butragueño. The same lightness in movement, the same way of taking advantage, as they used to say about judo when it appeared in Spain in my schoolboy days, of the enemy's momentum to one's own advantage. Two simple dummies, the ball into the corner of the net and the situation restored after that goal by Marcao that had got Barça into some early trouble. A goal, by the way, celebrated by Marcao breaking the corner flag at the cost of a card. Why would a footballer do this? I'll never know.
Pedri in more advanced role
Xavi is playing Pedri further up the pitch. He's arriving in the box more often now, and if he doesn't get into the box, he shoots instead. The very good players should be played closer to the goal. Another good move by Xavi was to disobey the order to get rid of Dembélé. Magnificent. There is nothing less intelligent than obedience, I once heard a wise person say. Dembélé didn't want to leave Barcelona, maybe that was a setback, but since he is still available for selection, it's better to use him. That's how Xavi sees it and the team is benefitting from it. Little by little, match by match, Xavi has been rebuilding a Barça team that was in a slump.
Spanish sides knocked out
It's a pity that this time it wasn't three teams, like in the Champions League, but it's just Barcelona who are left as the only Spanish side in the Europa League. The two Seville clubs were knocked out in extra time on Thursday night. Real Betis conceded their goal in the 121st minute of the game, as it was going to penalties. Sevilla also went down in extra time, overwhelmed by the fatigue brought on by West Ham's constant attack, relentless football. It's a pity in the year when the final will be played in Seville.