On Wednesday, everyone witnessed what many Madridistas knew all along – Barcelona cheat too. Yes the too to dignify that many clubs cheat, including Real Madrid. But only one difference and quite possibly a big difference – we or not everyone talks about the morals of the game as much as Barcelona players and managers do. Challenge by Pepe on Dani Alves was indeed punishable, but with a yellow card and not a straight red. Now purpose here is not to discuss whether the card was the right one or not but to highlight the Barcelona which exists beyond the beautiful football that they preach and play on most occasions.

[Note: This is written completely as a neutral and am not picking sides here. I don’t like cheating in football, be it Barcelona or even Real Madrid.]

  • Valdes’ foul on Dame N’Doye (FC Copenhagen) – Victor Valdes barges into FC Copenhagen’s Dame N’Doye in this years Champions League. He rushes outside the box, raised foot, knee first onto the Senegalese player. Verdict – Free kick to Barcelona, no card produced to Victor Valdes.

  • The Classicos this season – Mascherano goes down in a heap in the Copa del Rey (thought – He wasn’t like this at Anfield, or have I missed something?) ; Pedro goes down clutching his face – To be fair, Pedro was indeed body checked by Arbeloa but what warranted the rolling around and face clutching, I still don’t understand! ; Busquets goes down holding his face but he wasn’t even touched on the face! (Observation – In ALL three cases, ALL players went down holding their face!)

  • Hard to forget peekaboo by Busquets in the 1st leg of UEFA Champions League versus Inter Milan (then managed by Jose Mourinho). It got Thiago Motta sent off, Luis Figo angry and Jose Mourinho to laugh.

  • 2009 Champions League – Chelsea v Barcelona – Drogba brought down in the box, Anelka brought down, Handball by Pique, Handball on the shot by Ballack; none of them go in favour of Chelsea. Tom Henning Ovrebo, the referee that night, had it all wrong and as Drogba put it "it was a fuckin’ disgrace". Further, then Chelsea manager, Gus Hiddink hinted later that it was a UEFA conspiracy to avoid Chelsea contesting an all English final against Manchester United.

  • Chelsea v Barcelona (2005 Champions League) – Didier Drogba sent off in the 55th minute after he went for a 50-50 ball and clashed with Victor Valdes. The Beletti backpass was short and Drogba had every right to go for it but the collission with Valdes sent the goalkeeper to the ground, Drogba a straight red from Anders Frisk and get Barcelona a 2-1 victory on the night. Jose then commented on how he had seen Frisk enter Frank Rijkaard’s room at HT. Expectedly he was banned while Rijkaard received a medal for his dignified conduct over the affair.
  • Barcelona v Arsenal (2010-11 Champions League) – Robin Van Persie gets a second yellow for kicking the ball away as he had been adjudged offside. So, the referee expected the Dutchman to listen to the whistle in a stadium of 90,000 screaming people? And kicking the ball away after barely having it for a few seconds? We’ve seen much worse than that, haven’t we?

  • Barcelona v AC Milan, Champions League 2006 – Andrei Schevchenko then with AC Milan scored this goal after brilliant backpeddling and beating the keeper. But, the referee calls for a foul on Puyol who actually tripped on his own feet! Game ends 0-0 and Barcelona progressed to the final.

  • After Inter Milan’s victory last season at the Nou Camp, Mourinho ran on to the pitch to celebrate in front of his fans. Victor Valdes then grabs Mourinho to get him off of the pitch (only to fail!) but Nou Camp’s ground staff turned on the sprinklers at that very moment to kill off the Italian’s party. And the sprinklers weren’t turned on for the entire pitch but only the quarter in which Inter were celebrating. Coincidence?

At the end, I’d like to quote an excerpt from an article on Goal.com

But the visitors (Barcelona), who usually play the sort of football that poets would write epics about, did their bit as well to ensure that it was a dirty, ugly, horrible game that was about as attractive as Joe Pesci and Danny De Vito fighting for a bar of soap in the showers.

Sergio Busquets spent the 90 minutes looking for opportunities to audition for the part of ‘bereaved husband’ by clutching his head whenever an arm or a back as much as brushed his torso, and then falling in stages to the floor with mock tears and utterly stupid pleas to the referee to book those nasty opponents who… hadn’t touched him.

Pedro got in the act too, tumbling over his own feet, crying at the officials whenever a man in white outmuscled him and generally behaving like a petulant little baby throughout.

Then Dani Alves took feigning injury to a whole new level with his disgraceful rolling to ensure that Pepe got sent off. The Brazilian tumbled half the length of the pitch it seemed and then, after overselling his pain so much, had to be carried off on a stretcher – the arrogant little cheat was clearly in no danger whatsoever, with the only injury likely to have been picked up in the episode being received by the medics who had to carry him and were at risk of a hernia.

That’s not even mentioning the outright assaults launched by Javier Mascherano, who somehow stayed on the pitch despite trying to boot his opponent into space, Busquets on Alonso, and Pepe, who entirely deserved to walk for his despicable studs up challenge that would have left Dani Alves’ leg in half a dozen pieces had it connected.

I admit Barcelona play beautiful football but they do cheat, they do take advantage of the situation by unfair means and do run to the referee to protest quite often. If you still don’t see it, you might never will.