Reflection: PSG v Barcelona by B-Elite’s Director of Sport, Jordi Blanco

Wednesday was a great day for FC Barcelona fans and soccer aficionados everywhere. Our beloved “Barça” won 6 to 1 against Paris Saint Germain in the second leg of the Champions League’s round of 16. In this historic comeback, FCB overcame a 4-0 deficit that they had acquired in the first of the two legs which was played in Paris in February.

Without a doubt it was an incredible game with great plays, many goals, and of course, a lot of suspense from beginning to the very end. We are grateful to both teams for an entertaining game, and thankful for soccer in general, for every once in a while bringing us such beautiful and passion-filled games like yesterday’s game in Camp Nou.

I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon the game yesterday because there were situations in the game that can help us understand elements of soccer that we take for granted, but in hindsight are key elements for achieving the most far-reaching goals in the world of soccer, and perhaps also in life.

1. Playing with Heart – Yesterday FC Barcelona made history. Despite their deficit from the first leg against PSG and the small chance of continuing through to the next round, FCB beat the odds. My first observation is that all is not lost as long as there’s hope, faith, a will, and a way to get ahead. Only those who are willing to overcome the most difficult situations, will one day be great and achieve their desired objectives. Even if yesterday in stoppage time FC Barcelona hadn’t met their final objective, they still would’ve had a victory because during the entire game they worked hard and had faith and that heart makes us proud to be FC Barcelona fans. Win or lose it serves also as a morality boost and positive step forward for a team who is still very much alive in other competitions including La Liga and La Copa del Rey.

2. Keeping Composure – Barcelona’s starting 11, the technical directors, and the players were the exact same ones that just two weeks ago lost 4-0 in a disheartening first leg in Paris. PSG’s players and coaches were also the same. Bu this can be deceiving because if we worry too much about the final outcome and we let our emotions take over in critical situations, we can risk all of the things that we value the most. After the game in Paris there were only negative things said about the technical director, despite the fact that in the previous two years he had won UEFA Champions League title, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, one Spanish Supercup title, one UEFA Supercup and one FIFA Club World Cup title. Everything was negative from that day on February 14 until March 8 when everything changed – so are things really as they seem? The answer is obviously yes, if we focus on the results and how things were and are. But if we focus on the details and process, and if we are able to value the things in the moment without letting our immediate emotions take over, then we are able to understand the reasons, act accordingly, and have real options to overcome what seems like impossible feats. In other words, after the game in Paris everything seemed one way and yesterday we proved the opposite. Congratulations to FC Barcelona (mainly the technical director and the players) and best of luck in the next round. Also, we would like to send encouragement to PSG so that they bounce back quickly, learn from mistakes, and keep working hard to achieve the goal of winning a UEFA Champions League title in the future.

3. Appreciating the Fans – Yesterday FCB seemed to have achieved the impossible. It was a team effort; those who played and those who didn’t, those who played well and those who’ve had better days, the technical directors and the referees. But a very important part of the team’s performance was the fans. The fans provided immense support in Camp Nou and were vital to creating the atmosphere accompanying the team on their journey. Everyone was part of the team, even those of us here in the USA. The direct efforts were by the players who prepared and competed, but without the positive environment, they would’ve had a difficult time achieving their objectives.

4. Being a Team Player – Sergi Roberto was the player that scored the 6th and deciding goal for FC Barcelona. A goal that made history and brought so much joy to us all. Sergi Roberto is, without a doubt, a great soccer player. Despite the fact that he’s been on the team since 2010, he entered his first match, at 19 years of age, in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid under the direction of Jose Mourinho in 2011. He’s also a player that is mistakenly referred to as just a second tier player. With that winning goal, surely Sergi Roberto is the happiest player on earth. His goal made history and without a doubt stamped his name in the FCB history books for all eternity. But, Sergi Roberto’s history at FC Barcelona, like most soccer players in the world, hasn’t been a sequence of easy situations and immediate satisfaction. Sergi Roberto joined the club at 14 years old and despite the fact that he always stood out amongst his peers, his role on FC Barcelona’s top team these past seven seasons probably isn’t what Sergi dreamt when he pictured being on the first team. Sergi Roberto, midfielder throughout his career, has had to live in the shadows of soccer giants like Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez and alongside other top-level players like Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Rakitic. He’s seen the club dish out enormous sums of money to players like Arda Turan and André Gomes to play in the same position… and yet, Sergi Roberto hasn’t given up. Additionally, he’s never complained or been negative when he’s had to sit the bench, or when he’s had to play mostly in the right midfield, which is a new position for him. On the contrary, Sergi Roberto has always worked hard, valued his clubs, respected his teammates, and taken advantage of every minute and opportunity to demonstrate his value, whether or not he has to play in a position where he’s out of his comfort zone. And this is the main reason why this Wednesday the sport of soccer and life in general awarded Sergi Roberto with the sixth and definitive goal against PSG. Congratulations to Sergi for being an extraordinary example for all of the young players who dream to one day become professional soccer players.

I think that these observations can be applied to everyone. To us, B-Elite Soccer, as a company and soccer academy, they inspire us to help thousands of kids in the USA be happy and achieve their soccer goals. Without a doubt, not only have these observations helped us from the beginning of our adventure in the US, but may they continue to guide our path to keep getting better day after day with hard work so we can achieve the all of our goals.

We encourage our trainers to keep being open to learning new concepts and above all, to value our work and our players for their hard work in every training session and competition. The great results, without a doubt, will come with their strong desire and will to help our players. Helping our players achieve their goals is our overarching objective as trainers and coaches and if we stay on track, sooner or later great success will be realized.

Also, to our dads, moms, grandparents, and friends who can sometimes have doubts about their child’s improvements, know that their hard work and striving for their goals every training session and game, are indeed helping them improve day by day. Have confidence in them and overall support them with the love and encouragement that they deserve.

Finally, to you, the most important people, those whose goals and efforts makes us enjoy every day… the players. Don’t forget that soccer is a complex sport, challenging, demanding, and requiring tremendous competence. But also don’t forget that our success depends on your success and your success cannot be obtained without setting goals and hard work. Always. Follow the instructions of our trainers, who are always there to help, and not only respecting but admiring all of your teammates who may have more or less soccer skills than you. Last of all, respect each training session and competition by giving your all for the team and for all of us. Soccer is much more than just a sport and if you are able to persevere, one day it will pay off!

Sending a huge hug to all of you. Visca el Barça and visca B-Elite Soccer!
Jordi Blanco