“Lionel Messi struck his 300th and 301st goals for Barcelona as the Primera Division leaders overturned a half-time deficit to win 2-1 at plucky Granada. Barca dominated possession for the first 25 minutes, but were stunned when Odion Ighalo put the hosts ahead at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. Messi tapped in a deserved equaliser five minutes into the second half, though, and then curled in a trademark free-kick 17 minutes from time to complete the turnaround and move Barca 15 points clear at the summit.” ESPN
La Liga Review: Granada 1, FC Barcelona 2 – A Good Omen, or a Bad Appetiser?
“We’ve conquered the appetiser, which would normally be a good sign in views to the main course, except that if we have this much trouble with Granada, even Bojan on Wednesday might be too tough for us. The good news is that Roura seems to have lost his fear of rotation and gave us an exciting starting XI: VV, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Cesc, Thiago, Pedro, Messi, and Alexis; that’s even more risqué than what I suggested in the match preview in that we got to see a midfield without Xavi (injured) or Iniesta (rested) for the first time in ages.” The Offside (Video)
“In some parts of Germany, this past Monday was the most important day of the year – Rosenmontag. The name translates as Rose Monday and is the day the English know as Shrove Monday. Rosenmontag is the high point of the German carnival season and a bank holiday in the strongholds of this particular form of organised merriment, most of which are dotted along the Rhine. In Mainz, Cologne and Dusseldorf, literally millions of people take to the streets (and bars) dressed in fancy and elaborate, and sometimes bizarre, costumes to – as they stubbornly maintain – party, celebrate and have fun.” ESPN
“About a week ago, Simon Kuper wrote an interesting but ultimately disheartening article breaking down the shortcomings of 21st century soccer, and the reasons he’s fallen out of love with the game. From materialism to tribalism, Kuper draws a contrast between the noxious atmosphere that permeates the modern game, and a sort of wholesome, unbridled joy that underlined the halcyon days of say, Maradona in the mid-1980s. While it’s understandable that Kuper gets queasy with the incessant chatter of pundits waxing about wages, transfer budgets and misunderstood tactics, it’s hard for me to believe that Kuper looks back and sees any sort of purity.” Futbol Intellect
“The politics of Western Sahara are complex. Spain renounced control of the territory in 1975 giving Morocco and Mauritania joint administrative control but the Polisario Front rebelled and announced a Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) with an exiled government based in Algeria. Mauritania pulled out and a 1991 ceasefire left Western Sahara largely in Moroccan hands but partly in those of the SADR. The territory has been in political limbo ever since, a story largely ignored by the mass media and the big nations who tend to overlook the divide and push for an agreement.” In Bed With Maradona