Barcelona: what might have been

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Not so very long ago, they were getting all excited down El Mundo Deportivo’s way, screaming from the rooftops - and their front cover. Massive letters heralded the "Nou Barça!" while inside they dedicated a double-page spread to the HUGE story that their intrepid team of investigative hacks had brilliantly uncovered and their cutting-edge graphics team had rendered so pleasing to the eye.

For there, splashed across pages 2 and 3, the pages reserves for truly massive stories, was a team sheet showing what the "Nou Barça" looked like. And you had to hand it to them: it was pretty bloody impressive. Well, it was once you’d overlooked Víctor Valdés in goal.

There was Dani Alves at right back and Maicon at left back alongside Puyol and Milito. Michael Essien and Frank Lampard alongside Andres Iniesta in midfield. And a dream forward line made up of Leo Messi, Samuel Eto’o and... Frank Ribery. It was a real dream team.

It was also complete bollocks.

Because, you see, La Liga Loca's pants are on fire - well, not so much on fire as smouldering gently. Because, you see, the headline in El Mundo Deportivo didn't actually say "Nou Barça" at all. It said "Mou Barça".

How Barcelona will never, ever line up

Yes, that’s right, El Mundo Deportivo had brilliantly uncovered what Barcelona would have looked like it they had employed José Mourinho as coach but won’t look like because they didn’t employ Jose Mourinho as coach. Because they did in fact employ Pep Guardiola as coach. Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, Jose Mourinho went to Inter instead.

It is a piece about a team a man who is not your coach is not going to build, about players who are not going to come to the Camp Nou and who, if they eventually do, it sure as hell isn't because this article says they will.

Which is at least a cunning way of making sure you never get proven wrong. But it's also completely sodding useless. It would have made for better reading if a printing error had meant El Mundo Deportivo was full of water. At best it's a quirky yet fundamentally unfulfilling act of counter-factual what-iffing. At worst, it is an utterly sodding pointless act of wishful bloody thinking, a spot of day-dreaming about something that's not going to happen, a total waste of paper and everyone's time. 

Tomorrow: how La Liga Loca's steamy, lust-packed, went-on-for-hours night of sordid pleasure with Scarlet Johansen, Salma Hayek and that French newsreader would have gone. If we hadn't just made it up.