How Barca could derail Chelsea’s European hopes


As the Spaniards whimsically flamenco dance into 2012, whilst frivolously clicking their castanets towards January 6th, The Day of the Kings, their shining and leading star, FC Barcelona sit on the throne as the once-again newborn kings of the footballing world. They earned this right, at least officially, by winning the 2011 FIFA World Cup and thus replacing the previous best team in the world, Inter Milan.

The tournament is questionable in its competitiveness for a start: according to the final standings of the competition, as well as Neymar’s inflated but so-far unjustified ego, behind the rightful (even before the Japanese-hosted competition in which Barca didn’t even have to participate in until the semi-final stage) winners Barcelona, were Santos and Al-Sadd as the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the world, apparently. Neymar agrees with the competition’s result, that has only ever served one useful purpose, making Ferguson bend over, “we are the second-best team in the world and for us that is a great reward.” I’m happy to bet that at least 20 teams in the world would want to contest that.

However, despite Neymar’s kicking and screaming and attention-grabbing, whilst carefully constructing his Mohawk and fathering a child with his 17-year old girlfriend in August, Messi turned up, rather like a missionary from King Herald, and ensured that for a while, at least, Neymar shall not become the new king of the world and remains, as Sportsnet put it, “underhyped” alongside that other sports person that no-one’s heard of, Novak Djokovic. No, really: according to Perry Lefko you need to be an “aficionado” of the corresponding sports to have heard of these performers.

It won’t be Neymar moving to Barcelona that could derail Chelsea’s European hopes, which Roman Abramovich has so long fostered and repeatedly seen snatched from within his grasp, though. It won’t be Messi pirouetting round a fallen Ashley Cole, whilst dummying a pass to Sanchez, just to pass it back to one of his loyal supporters, Xavi or Iniesta, before ghosting through the back line to receive a beautifully weighted through ball from one of the World Cup winners before curling a dipping shot past Petr Cech, either: although, it could be.

With Chelsea doing their best impression of a disappointed child on Christmas Day, “It will be difficult, were in the same group as Man City and Man City are unfortunately no longer with us,” on finding out their tie for the second round of the Champions League, even if they did beat Cavani Ft. Lavezzi & Co. it won’t be the three kings halting their progress with gifts of Xavi, and Messi. If Chelsea in Europe, it will be due to the loss of one man that Barcelona supposedly hold the right to sign back: Oriol Romeu.

Oriol Romeu has the appearance of his Chelsea team-mate Alex, but the playing style of fellow La Masia product Sergio Busquets and his impact on The Blues’ campaign has been valued as equal to that of fellow Spaniard and Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata. His performances in the hole between midfield and defence, more popularly known as the Makelele role, have been pivotal in Chelsea’s now-smoothing form, after a fluctuating start.

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Budding Football journalist who blogs at daily as well as writing here for ThisisFutbol and on the England fan's page. Outside of writing is more football. I work at Southampton F.C and I manage a men's football team on Saturdays.


  • Marc CFC/BKK says:

    As I’ve said, Keito (or whatever his name is) is leaving Barca due to insufficient playing time with two players far ahead of him in that position; why would Romeu even want to go back as a direct replacement merely to bench warm waiting on a double injury opening. Yes in a few years time, it may be more difficult if Barca can then assure him of first team regularity and he may have made his name sufficiently at Chelsea to demand just that but you’d think that, fee aside, we’d probably be forced anyway, like Cesc. In the meantime, we can use him well for the team and work on his back up for the future if the worst happens but I don’t see him leaving Chelsea first team football before January 2013 or more likely summer. All assuming he’d say yes; it remains his final decision.

  • Eidur says:

    Romeu will always hope that there’s a place for him at Barcelona in the future but he’s happy where he is at the moment and is playing regular football, so won’t be leaving before 2013.

    As for Barcelona, their manager is Pep Guardiola and contrary to what the English press like to tell us he isn’t as much of a fan of Romeu as many other of their young products.

    Barca aren’t mulling over bringing him back and already have a long-term option in deep midfield with Sergio Busquets, who is only 23.

  • James says:

    I’m not sure I understand why Romeu would want to go back. I would also like to point out that it is only in the Chelsea team this year where Spaniards have really had a positive influence. Most of my Arsenal fan friends would say whilst Arteta has been a solid performer he hasn’t set the world alight. DeGea has been awful for Man Utd. Reina has had a very average year by his standards. Silva is the best player in the premier league but he is surrounded by players that allow him to play the way he knows best, and there can be no doubt that this certain helps. Romeu hasn’t grown up in the Barca ranks his entire life, he started at Espanyol, and doesn’t have the same Cesc style connection to the club… Sure if Pep said you’ll be playing every week it would be a lure, but its not the same as Fabregas who adored watching his club play for years.

  • Mike says:

    whoever Barca put in midfield whether it is a returning Romeu (which for now i personally doubt) or another product of their hugely successful youth conveyor belt, one thing for sure is that the highly successful Spanish side will continue to be the top team in Europe and possibly the world for a few more years to come yet.

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