I know, I know. Every time I talk about being a sports fan on this blog, usually, I’m complaining. I’m complaining about the emotional strain, the turmoil, the disappointment. But every so often (or at least once a year if you’re a Manchester United/Rafael Nadal/FC Barcelona fan), all the sleepless nights, the nail-biting and the tears pay off. There are moments that make all that self-imposed torture worth it. And the 103rd minute of a match in Mestalla in Valencia was one such moment.
Real Madrid CF beat FC Barcelona to win the Copa Del Rey, 1-0 in extra time.
Under normal circumstances, any trophy is worth celebrating. This trophy, though, is extra special (despite what Sergio Ramos’ treatment of it may imply) because the circumstances of this title and this match are anything BUT normal. Actually, they may never be duplicated. EVER. This title is all the more important to every Real Madrid player, staff member and fan because (1) we beat Barcelona in the final; (2) we beat Barcelona after six unsuccessful tries over three years; (3) we beat Barcelona after drawing with them 1-1 three days prior to this match and virtually handing them the La Liga on a silver platter and (4) we beat Barcelona first in the 18 days that make up the historical El Clásico series .
I guess it could all be summarized into simply saying “this is about Madrid beating Barcelona.” It is. But, actually, it isn’t. It’s way more than that. Winning last weekend’s La Liga match would’ve been nice, but the La Liga title, barring an unlikely and spectacular collapse from them, would’ve still been Barcelona’s. For the Copa del Rey final, something really was at stake, it can’t end in a tie, there’s no sharing the spoils. And the team delivered, proving to the fans that they could do it. But more importantly, proving it to themselves.
And even if it took seven tries in three years, the timing of the win could not have been better. We’re now going into the Champions League semifinal, not with the HOPE that we can beat Barcelona. We’ll be facing them believing… no, scratch that. We’ll be facing arguably the best club in the world at the moment KNOWING we can beat them. Because we just did.
What a difference a moment makes.
Photo from Reuters