Solitude, loneliness, emptiness…Emotions that are antagonistic to those we would like to feel when losing someone special to us, but that have been provoked in thousands of people by the coronavirus.
Header Image by Richard Heathcote via Getty Images
The best way to ease emotional pain is by sharing the hard time with others, by finding comfort in other people’s backing. Sadly, though, the worst thing about the coronavirus situation precisely is not being able to say goodbye to the loved ones and to split these emotions. With the strict, and completely justifiable, measures for social distancing, barriers have been put over feelings. Thousands of people around the world have seen how they have lost a loved member of their families, but haven’t been allowed to share their sadness with their parents, their brothers or their cousins suffering the same agony. Hugging is not permitted, attending the funeral is in most cases forbidden too, and a phone call or an exchange of looks two metres apart is an excessively empty and cruel solution.
As we grew up, we had always been said that, no matter what happened, we would always have our families by our side. However, on this occasion consolation cannot even be found on the proximity of the relatives. Togetherness, intimacy and affection have been replaced by emptiness, coldness and isolation. Most fortunate people have only had to struggle with boredom or the absence of football during quarantine and self-isolation, but, by contrast, thousands of other people have been living a nightmare not even the most fatalistic of us could have predicted. There’s no more terrifying experience than facing silence and solitude when you need others’ warmth.
Hard times for a very loved man in the Barcelona community: Pep Guardiola | Photo by David Ramos via Getty Images
And those people who have suffered the coronavirus in their own eyes are not as distant as we first imagined. As the virus first broke out, people from outside China still thought it was something too remote and faraway to affect us. Or, if not, that we were young and healthy enough to combat it. Nonetheless, reality has caught us until it has been too late. The coronavirus has been getting closer and closer. From an isolated disease, to a threat to our country, to a deadly pandemic that has arrived to our community. Some of our loved ones are already being victims of the COVID–19.
For culés, and for many football fans overall, a forever adored personality is none other than Pep Guardiola. Therefore, the news of the death of Pep’s mother, Dolors Sala Carrió, in Manresa, Barcelona, at 82 years of age after contracting coronavirus, has made us all pause for a minute. In these times of loneliness and emptiness, we must do our best to share our comfort. Like with everyone who has lost an important piece of their lives lately, we want to share our deepest condolences to Pep and his mother’s relatives and friends. If football can be something, at least, let it be a family. Let us all be united.
Rest in peace, Dolors.
Why Erling Braut Håland should be Barcelona’s future number 9
While he would be an unconventional player at the club, why should Barcelona target Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Håland after the departure of Luis Suárez?
A 19-year-old Erling Braut Håland took the footballing world by storm last year when he scored a hat-trick of goals on his Champions League debut and then went on to become only the second teenager to score in each of his first three appearances in the competition.
In the winter transfer window, Håland moved from Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg to German side Borussia Dortmund in hopes of both improving his game and leading Lucien Favre’s side to the Bundesliga title. The Norwegian wonderkid ended the Bundesliga season with 13 goals and 3 assists in 15 games, and Dortmund finished second on the table.
Håland’s 44-goal season put him on the radar of all the top clubs in the world, and while the striker is at the top of his game at Dortmund, his departure to a top European club in the future is inevitable at some point. Following club legend Luis Suárez‘s departure from Barcelona, the Catalan club is surely looking for El Pistolero‘s heir. With Barcelona looking for a top striker for the future, and the Norwegian machine looking at a European giant to move to, Håland might just be the name that reads on Barcelona’s number 9 shirt.
The transfer market is unpredictable, and Håland’s agent being notorious superagent – and supervillain – Mino Raiola, makes things even more complicated. Instead of looking at if Barcelona will seek Håland’s services, this article will look at why Barcelona should seek Håland’s services.
To begin with, let’s talk about Håland’s statistics. In the 2019/20 season, he scored 44 and assisted 10 goals. 10 of the goals were in the Champions League. He scored more goals than expected with his G90, 1.10, being higher than his xG90, 0.75. It has been established that Håland is a goalscoring machine. The Norwegian’s physique is absolutely astounding. At 6 feet 4 inches (1.94 metres), Håland provides quite the aerial threat, something the blaugrana club severely lacks.
In spite of his towering height, Håland is incredibly fast; he reached a top speed of 36 km/h and was 0.3 seconds off from breaking the world record for a 60-metre sprint. Football has evolved in recent years, with training facilities improving and more money being invested in fitness training, players have become more athletic. A striker who will face off against athletic defenders definitely needs to be a physical demon.
When at RB Salzburg, Barcelona rejected to sign Erling Braut Håland because he did not have the suited profile | Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images
Does Håland have the technical ability of a prime Luis Suárez or of a Samuel Eto’o? No. Would he be heavily involved in the build-up play like some of Barcelona’s preceding number 9s? No. If Håland was to join, he would be the most uncreative player in the squad, and believe it or not, that is exactly what Barcelona needs right now.
The recurring humiliations in the Champions League knockout stages have had one thing in common – apart from the poor defence –: the lack of a runner. Every elite team in Europe has elite runners: PSG have Kylian Mbappé, Liverpool have Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mané, Bayern have Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry.
The Barcelona team, all these years, has been stacked with players who love having the ball at their feet all the time – Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann…The reason Messi’s last few years have been wasted is that he hasn’t been provided with a runner to get at the end of his through balls. This problem cannot occur again.
Barcelona’s future lies with talented playmakers like Francisco Trincão, Pedri, Riqui Puig, etc, and these playmakers need a proficient and clinical striker with good off the ball movement, to score goals for the team. Håland doesn’t only have a good physique, he is also an intelligent footballer. He knows how to time runs, how to hold the defence, and is a lethal shooter of the ball.
Erling Braut Håland would be quite an unorthodox signing for Barcelona. Quite unlike all of his predecessors. But if the club’s transfer policy fails to evolve while the game itself is evolving, then the Catalan club is going to become a relic of the past. A player like Lionel Messi is never going to appear again. Thus, after his departure, if Barcelona want to dominate in Europe like they once did, the team is going to have to function like a system, and Erling Håland is the piece that fits the puzzle the best.
So apart from everything discussed in this article, why should Erling Håland join Barcelona? Well, in his own words: why not?