Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Vote X for Barcelona and Spain’s Real leaders

So often the final product doesn’t live up to the hype.

I still shudder when I see a Buckaroo in action as mine broke after the first buck.

I still burn with resentment that my Action Man helicopter would only fly if you hurled it out the landing window and the mere sight of a Ferrari racing car reminds me of my Scalextric one that had the speed and grace of a one-legged hippo.

It was such a joy then on Monday evening as all my Christmases and birthdays came at once as Barcelona treated Real Madrid very badly and treated us all to one of the greatest displays since I drew a very rude thing with my Magna Doodle.

With Sky in town it was never going to be under-played and they had turned up in force at the Nou Camp (or is it Camp Nou?) with Mark Bolton joined in the lashing rain at the side of the pitch by Mark Hughes and Gerry Arconada-Armstrong.

A striking legend and some Welsh bloke who had a dodgy perm.

“It’s the biggest club game in the world,” Bolton told us, as people from Larne and Carrick shook their heads in disbelief, and a big night calls for big commentators, but they were busy so Wimbledon giant Terry Gibson joined Rob Palmer in a box high up in the stands and just below the moon.

“I’ll try not to hype it up but every one of the players out there has achieved great things,” Palmer promised us.

Indeed, in his time at Liverpool Xabi Alonso won a thrilling game of Top Trumps against Dirk Kuyt.

The game had been delayed for 24 hours because of elections in Catalonia (I wonder if Cerys Matthews was re-elected?) and it was a case of vote X as the world’s greatest footballer Xavi set the ball rolling on a landslide victory.

Things weren’t going well for Madrid but thankfully they could rely on a level-headed, more mature Ronaldo to rescue the day. Or not.

His push of Mr Claypole, sorry, Pep Guardiola was comedy gold as playground mayhem ensued and as my mother would say ‘he could start a row in a graveyard.’

I fully expected a phone-in on the Esteban Nolano Show on Radio Catalan the next day but to no avail.

Ronaldo wasn’t the only one, Carvalho, formerly Lord Percy from Blackadder III, having his elbow savagely attacked by that hulking hardman Lionel Messi, but he can be forgiven for his pass for the fourth goal that was so good in its build up that Gaudi could have claimed an assist.

A fifth goal duly arrived before Sergio Ramos was sent off for his 83rd bookable offence and on the sidelines the only person looking more miserable than Jose Mourinho was the Sky make-up person faced with the task of keeping Gerry’s hair from turning into some weird Wagner tribute act.

But as the special one departs from the X Factor we can at least rely on Xavi and co to keep us entertained on a Saturday night while wee Ronaldo is tucked up with a Farley’s Rusk and his Rentaghost box-set for |company.

Belfast Telegraph


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