this weekend’s game was a fitting welcome for our captain — a home game with pique as his co-centerback, a crowd 70-plus thousand strong, an opponent that could provide a wily challenge.  During the training session (read: hugfest) before the match, he had been given medical clearance to play, and I joined cules all over the world in a collective sigh of relief.  I was hoping he could start and play at least half the match, and tito was very kind to oblige.

Puyi stepped out with his recovering arm wrapped in blue, the armband clasped over it.  It was poetic.  Here he was once again, our injured warrior barely healed, coming out to defend the club’s colors on the pitch.  And all at once, I ruined it in my head — strains of “Go the Distance” from Hercules started ringing in my ear.  Disney and Puyi don’t really mix in my book.  But the moment became so cheesy, it made me shed a tear or two :’)

It was touch-and-go at times, but I think we played an excellent game.  Puyi and Pique had a chance to recover their match rhythm, and Valdes looked as focused as a new father could be.  I couldn’t help but think that if Busi hadn’t been suspended, Tito could have fielded an all-canterano side.  But I’m glad Cesc got some time off.

Iniesta and Tello had their “Casi!” moments, but Messi and Song gave us a winning scoreline.

Messi’s second goal was incredible, curling elegantly through the spaces between the Zaragozan defenders and the goalpost.  And congratulations to Alex Song (liking him more each passing game) on his first goal for Barça.  No pressure, Masche, no pressure.  I’m glad Masche got his much needed and deserved rest.  I’m hoping next time you can play in your normal position again … and as I’m writing this, I read about Bartra’s injury.  Great! Sorry Masche, I think you’ll be a defender for another 3 weeks.

After the game, Puyi was the guest on El Marcador, where he talked about his injury, the game, and his substitution.  Personally I wanted him subbed off after our third goal, so thanks Jordi!

the king, the knave… and the joker

And without that sub, we wouldn’t have witnessed that amazing ovation.  Don’t hide it — you know you blinked back some tears.

I only know very halting Catalan, so I was a bit lost during some parts.  He said he feels very good about the game, about being able to play and recovering well.  About his latest injury, he said it was the worst he’s ever experienced, that it hurt a lot, but the one good thing about it was that he didn’t need mobility in his arm so much so he could return to the pitch earlier.  Then they joked about his substitution.  Apparently, Jordi misunderstood something he said about feeling tired, and he was just surprised that he was subbed off so quickly.  I was quite relieved to see that he wasn’t mad or anything, I was a little scared for Alba because he looked so pissed on the bench.  They talked about the fantastic start of the team in the league, 34 out of 36 points, and he said that it’s incredible but they have no intention of relaxing, and aim every day to get better.  Some more talk about injuries, and he said these things happen, and you just have to think positive.  About his propensity for quick recovery, he said he doesn’t listen to predictions and instead just tries to get back in shape as fast as he can.  Something about working again with Pique, about Pique joking, about scoring…?  I didn’t understand much else, but it’s nice to watch and listen.  I hope he guests on El Marcador more often.  It’s not frequent that we see him this relaxed during interviews;  in pressers, he’s a bit more stiff and controlled (he commented before about being very careful with what he says during pressers because they often get misconstrued).

His post-match photo, as expected, was with Pique —

Puyol’s facebook: Hello everyone! Double happiness today, for the victory and for being able to return to the pitch. I leave you this photo with Pique. A hug to all!


The team is now in Russia for our CL game on Tuesday.  It’s zero Celsius in Moscow.  Cold…

… very cold…

… perfect puyi-friendly weather.  Looking forward to the match!


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