If you never understood soccer -- what with its low scoring and insistence on using your feet instead of hands -- but are open enough to admit that there may be something to a sport that the entire world loves, this might be your chance to finally get it. Futbol Club Barcelona, the best team in the world and considered by some the best team in history, is in town for the first time ever to play an exhibition match against Mexican powerhouse Chivas de Guadalajara at Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday night.
The team is known for its slick and mesmerizing passing, has several players considered among the best in the world, and has won the UEFA Champions League Final, roughly equivalent to the Super Bowl, two of the past three years. But those are only the some of the reasons to follow the team. Check out five other reasons that have little to do with action on the field.
5. Small People Dominate
While the sporting world continues to produce gargantuan athletes,
Barcelona players are small even for soccer standards. Arguably, the
five best players are under 5'10" including the positively dwarf-like
Lionel "the Atomic Flea" Messi, the best player in the world who had to
take hormone treatments to even get to his current size.
Watching Barcelona play is not a strictly sporting endeavor, there's
considerable theater as well. The team is notorious for feigning
injuries in order to gain advantages. So don't get confused if you hear
the term "diving" when watching Barcelona. They're not talking about the
Olympic sport but rather the penchant for overacting to contact and
throwing themselves on the floor.
While the major American Sports require a hefty investment of time (about
two hours and a half for basketball, almost 3 hours for baseball, and
more than three for football) soccer games last only 90 minutes with a
15 minute half time. There are no tedious timeouts which means there are
no endless commercials to be watched in between the action.
Barcelona is in Spain but you can't understand what language the players
are talking to each other in. That's because it's Catalan, spoken
throughout the Spanish region of Catalonia. Many in the region have long
called for independence from the rest of Spain and that has led to
considerable tension in the country. Good to know that other countries
are divided as us.
1. Star Power
Like any world renowned professional sports team, there is considerable
star power surrounding Barca. And lately it's been in the form of
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starlet Shakira, who is dating defender Gerard Pique. She'll no doubt be
in the stands. Kobe Bryant is another big fan.
FC Barcelona plays against Chivas de Guadalajara at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium (2267 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami Gardens). Tickets cost $30 to $125. Visit sunlifestadium.com for more information.