Two days ahead of the Champions League final and the ‘Barcelona Diving’ debate was brought up again on Keys and Gray’s show on Talksport today.
I know what happened in the 1st leg of the Champions League semi-final wasn’t great from Barca, but I have watched them a hell of a lot over the last few years and I have to say that apart from a few isolated incidents, I don’t believe Barcelona are divers.
That said, I do believe Barcelona are capable of employing the ‘Diving’ tactics when/if they need too. But it’s only usually when they believe they have a good case to do so. It may be a bit of a contradiction, but maybe they are just occasional divers.
For me, what happened a few weeks ago was one of those occasions and was a deliberate Barca tactic. They knew that Madrid where planning to play rough, they knew Mourinho would try and turn it into a physical contest and ruffle Barcelona by kicking lumps out of them.
I’ve now come to the conclusion that Pep Guardiola knew what was coming and instructed his players to fight fire with fire by making sure the referee was well aware of what was going on – by over doing it when on the receiving end of an over physical tackle.
Guardiola seen Mourinho and his dirty tactics coming and played dirty himself, the Barca manager won the battle of the underhand tactics. In short Guardiola outcoached Mourinho.
Those who remember Mourinho’s Porto side may well also think serves him right, that he got shot with his own gun. When it comes to diving, I’m yet to see a team that could compete with his Porto side.
Basically I don’t believe Barcelona to be divers. Yes, they know how to play the game when they need too – and they needed too against Real that night.
They may well need to on Saturday against Manchester United. If they come under pressure from United, either by tough tackling or from good football, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them use the tactic again. But I don’t believe they are serial offenders.