Financial doping, morally corrupt owners, needless violence…
There’s plenty to hate about football.
That’s why, now and then, we need something to remind us why we fell in love with the sport in the first place.
Something that recaptures your untainted childhood affection for what is essentially magic.
With that in mind, allow us to present this Barcelona masterpiece…
Stupidly fun, isn’t it?
Inevitably, Lionel Messi provides the finishing touch but it’s a goal of collective brilliance.
Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba all contribute to a goal which is part counterattack, part tika-taka, and part training ground nonsense.
Perhaps the most typically Barca aspect of it is how Pique and Alba – defenders by trade – charge forward like two strikers, as if they desperately needed a stoppage-time goal.
They didn’t of course, the job was already done.
The Catalan giants overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first to beat Sevilla 6-3 on aggregate and progress to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey in front of an appreciative Nou Camp crowd.
Philippe Coutinho bagged a brace while Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto and Suarez all scored before Messi’s artistic final blow.
Of course Alba was on hand to assist the legendary No10 — the pair have struck up a telepathic connection in recent years.
We’re not yet out of January and already Ernesto Valverde’s side look set to retain their domestic double.
Will we see such flourishes in the Champions League?