The international break is over. It’s that time of the season when players go off to play for their national teams and get the bad habits out of their system, like Masche’s proclivity to collect yellow cards with ARG, or Xavi’s and Messi’s sudden urge to get their free kicks just right. The players are back, we’d like to add safe and sound, but of course, it’s completely unheard of to have an international break without the FIFA virus striking. This time, the victims are Iniesta, who is out for 10-15 days with a right thigh muscle injury, and Alba, who is out temporarily with the flu.
For a recap, first, we’ll start with the free kicks. Just because, you know, it’s not straight at the wall or directed at the stars or kicked backwards as we’re accustomed to, but are two such perfectly rendered versions.
Xavi’s Free Kick vs Saudi Arabia
Messi’s Free Kick vs Paraguay
Pedro’s goal vs Saudi Arabia
Pedro scoring another goal vs Saudi Arabia, because he can.
David Villa made his comeback for Spain for the first time since his injury, and converted a penalty kick to get on the scoring sheet.
Cesc’s crucial assist for Spain’s only last-minute goal in their world cup qualifier vs Georgia
As a bonus, there was even a Messi free kick that almost went in, before just bouncing off the all-too-familiar post. When it rains, it pours.
(All videos via @barcastuff, @emenderk and @migerucb)
As pointed out by the official site, Barca’s 17 first team players called up for international duty put in a total of 1777 minutes and traveled thousands of miles, and that’s not counting the Barca B players. And now it’s on to the next Liga game against Getafe on Saturday. And praying to the Football Gods that no more victims succumb to the well-documented effects of FIFA virus over next few days as the first team gets back to training together.