By Ollie Irish
Barcelona were forced to make a four-hour dash to Pamplona to fulfil their Liga fixture at Osasuna on Saturday evening. Barca officials were convinced the game would be called off because of the air traffic controllers’ strike in Spain, but the Spanish Football Federation told Barca – at the eleventh hour – that they would forfeit the points if they failed to turn up. Not the red-carpet treatment the Catalan club is used to.
So Pep Guardiola’s side had to take a train to Zaragoza before making the final 200km journey to the Reyno de Navarra by coach.
They arrived at the stadium a few minutes after the scheduled 8pm kick-off, and so the match was delayed by 45 minutes. The frantic journey, which might have seen Jose Mourinho rubbing his hands together in gleeful anticipation of a Barca slip-up, didn’t seem to affect Messi and co. (what does?) as Barca romped to a 3-0 victory. They remain top of the league, two points clear of Real Madrid.
Barcelona were not impressed with the actions of the SFF. A club statement said: “At around 3pm the federation told us the game should be played, with the risk of losing the points if we failed to show up.
“Their indecision has caused great harm to the sporting interests, image and fans of this club.”