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Barcelona Futbol!

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We get our new signing Dembele and he snaps a tendon in his quad. 105m signing has to wait 3 and half months before he's back. Neymar's departure has seemed to be a blessing in disguise as the team has responded with 5 wins with 5 games played. A solid start considering the potential holes, however, Valverde has done a solid effort of scheming around the faults. 

Messi has played all games and has 9 goals with 3 hat tricks 5 games into the season. Teams triple team him and he still gets it past the goalie repeatedly. Semedo the new addition on the right side has been a joy to watch fill space on the pitch and advance the ball on nearly every touch. He moves effortlessly with the ball. 

Messi is the greatest of all time and his points are expected but the biggest surprise has been Paulinho. 29 years of age and the captain of the Brazil team was spurned by much of the fan base as he had gone splashingly into the Chinese league. The Chinese league is seen as one where a player goes to spend their last days. Not Paulinho, he excelled and caught the eye of Barça. We threw 40 million at him this summer, which is a great deal for an aging middlefielder. He stepped in and has had assists and has scored in the last 2 games. He plays vertically for a midfielder, which is odd for Barcelona's attack or tik tak play, yet he's assimilated seamlessly into the game and has made things happen all over the field. 

Solid contributions by the entire made sure that we came away with a solid game and victory. 6-1 was the final score. Not bad until you realize that's the first points scored on Barça so far this season. Eibar spent 3 million in the offseason, a huge sum for such a Basque team, they were expecting a win, not to be routed. Valverde had the team prepared and they're not clicking smoothly on all fronts, but they're getting solid results with this messy play which will only tighten. 

Heal well and fast Dembele. 

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Dembele healed well and fast, then had a setback, then arrived to score in the Copa Del Rey and finally for the team a few weeks ago. His assists have helped Barça capitalize on an amazing run. I was going to post weekly here, however, I get it, no one really cares, this is a football site. So I saved my posts and decided I'll wait until we lose and surf the Barça site. I was not prepared for the onslaught of opinions from everywhere from every angle. Following the biggest team in the world came with the worlds pining. Overwhelmed is a nice place to start when searching for words to grasp where I was. There is just TOO much information and sources and opinions. Imagine SR, on steroids with over a million fans, ya, frightening. 

I realized I could not do what I do here, there. I gave up. I studied the history and found the Barça Reddit and found bits of sanity here and there. I followed and learned. I watched the offseason come and go after losing the league title in the last couple of games of the '16-'17 season. 3 points, we lost the league by 3 goals. We had only 4 losses all year and the only trophy we won was the Spanish Kings Trophy, The Copa Del Rey, successfully beating every team in the Spanish Tournament. 

I've come to enjoy soccer, I've come to love Barça futbol, I've witnessed already what has been considered the best soccer game ever played in the modern era. I have a new rival, Los Blancos, that feed my hatred the same that the Falcons feel in the fall. I've watched every game since my trip to Camp Nou and I've had quite a year of it. The LaLiga season is 38 games, then you add in Champions League. Champions League involves the top 4 teams in all the top worlds divisions. We made it to the semi finals up 3 goals in game one only to lose to Roma a few weeks ago. The goal of each season is what is called the Treble or 3 or to win the 3 continental trophies available to win. To win all 3 in a single is the goal that has been attained by very few over the decades. Champions League, Copa Del Rey, and the League Title make up the Treble available to Barcelona if they stay within the top 4 teams in the league by cumulative wins and points. FC Barcelona is the only team in the world to have done it twice. Losing the game in Rome meant that the Treble was impossible this year. 

This year the Copa Del Rey tournament was spectacular, we only lost one game. Soccer tournaments are two games each round, same as in Champions Leagues, one at your home stadium and one game at your opponent's stadium. The cumulative score of the two games decides the winner if it's a tie, the team that scores the more points in the away game gets the nod moving their team forward.  We lost that game 1-0 but we came back the second game with 2 goals to their none. Last weekend we hoisted the Kings Trophy after a decisive 5-0 victory. 

Today Barcelona won its LaLiga game 4-2. 41, 41 games, 41 games without a loss. How can you have won 41 games in a row in a 38 game season you may ask? We won the last 7 of the '16-'17 season then proceeded to not lose a game ALL SEASON! We sit 15 goals ahead of our rivals who beat us last year by 3, with 4 games to go in the LaLiga season. Next week we play those same rivals, Real Madrid. This game matters, it's our rivals, yet there is an air of satisfaction beforehand. With that 34th game today we officially won the LaLiga title. The win and points are squarely in our favor and today we hoisted our second trophy in two weeks. 

We have officially won the double, we've only done that 9 times since 1899. What our coach Valverde has accomplished is pretty amazing given the state of affairs that Barcelona found itself in last July. The previous coach was fired, our promising young talent left unexpectedly for another league for the most money ever and the team looked destined for a bad year. I strapped in and as a fan hoped for the best whilst expecting the worst. My fandom was rewarded with a most spectacular display weekend after weekend.

One game selected by random choice changed the way I viewed soccer and turned out to be an epic game I'll never witness again. I'm officially hooked, I'm a Cules, I fly my Barça colors as proud as I do my Black and Gold. With 4 games to go, I can only hope we pull off the perfect undefeated season. I've probably doomed it by finally writing about it but I had to purge these thoughts after our official Double win today. I don't follow the usual sports besides football and cycling and now futbol is officially part of my permanent sports world. It ain't for everybody, but it's definitely for me.

This summer it was announced that Barcelona will do another US tour and this time they're coming to the west coast. August 4th I'll be behind one of the goals with my Penya (officially recognized fan club of FC Barcelona) at Levis Stadium. Pretty much the only way you'll get me in that stadium. I have no desire to attend another live 49er game locally again. 

Força Barça!

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