Damn, maybe T.S. Eliot knew a little something about expectations unfilled: the April sunshine that retreats back into the clouds just as soon as it appears.

Real Madrid won the 2011 Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) by beating Barcelona with a clinical down-the-line, lead pass from Marcelo to di Maria, who crossed the ball spectacularly for Ronaldo to rise up and re-direct it penetratingly past Pinto, Barcelona’s goal keeper, and into the back of the net for the winning score…in the 103rd minute, first over-time period.

The winning play began with Messi giving away the ball (after a Casillas kick from the other goal-mouth cleared 75% of the field). Marcelo and Xabi Alonso closed in on Messi, who just received the ball from a Xavi/Iniesta give-and-go moments before. Marcelo poked the ball away from Messi, and Alonso fed the ball to Pepe, who gave it right back to Marcelo. Counter-attack: Marcelo made a give-and-go with di Maria, and then Marcelo maneuvered to make his lead pass for di Maria, which culminated in 1-0…Ronaldo.

Dani Alves got beat on the sideline by di Maria. Alves had played inspiringly prior to that interlude on the field. Then Ronaldo outjumped a turned-around Adriano. Perhaps Eric Abidal is missed for that assignment, if not for his overall courageous exhibition of skill on defense whenever he plays. May he heal completely. On that line of thought, heroes missing the action today, perhaps Victor Valdes would have done differently against Ronaldo’s header.

We will see on April 27 and May 3 during the Champions League showdown…first game in Madrid, second game in Barcelona. Most goals goes to Wembley!

This was a hard-fought Copa del Rey Final, though. The Merengues defended the Blaugrana so closely I’m surprised there wasn’t white, like powdered sugar, all over the blue and deep-red stripes of the Catalans’ uniforms.

Brilliant playing from Los Blancos! The All-Whites were the better team today.  


* I back Barcelona over Real Madrid, but I recognize The Beautiful Game when I see it.

When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©


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