The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
I know I wouldn’t feel the same about Iker Casillas if he played for a different team—somehow it’s important that he’s a player I love on a team I broadly dislike—but watching him singlehandedly keep Real Madrid in a match like this is almost too much to take. When he smothered the Eto’o penalty I was simultaneously pumping my fist in triumph and shouting in frustration that Barcelona, who had created so many good chances and whom I really wanted to win, still hadn’t broken through. When Messi scored to make it 2-0 I winced, because after the game he’d had Casillas didn’t deserve to concede a meaningless goal in stoppage time, but it was somehow also the wince of being thrilled to see Messi get revenge on a Madrid defense that had hacked him down repeatedly throughout the game.
Anyway. Thierry Henry now spends a good part of every match looking like he’s just walked into a room where no one recognizes him and he’s not sure how offended he ought to be. Juande Ramos looked happy to be speaking Spanish every time he spoke Spanish. It was hard to tell what was a yellow card and what was hope and physics.
It rained a lot, which made everything murkier.
by Brian Phillips · December 13, 2008