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It’s Shakira Barcelona should fear, not Real Madrid

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona have won more than their fair share of trophies in the last couple of years. They’ve also set the benchmark for flowing, passing football and given the world Leo Messi. They’re currently seven points clear at the top of the liga standings and they have set up a showdown with Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. So everything’s okay, isn’t it?


Well no, actually. And I base this assertion not on any scientific data, any drop in the percentage of passes that Xavi Hernández makes per game or, in fact, any decline in Barcelona’s performances at all, really. I base it on one word (well, two in fact): Waka Waka.

Shakira and Gerard Piqué: a little "waka waka" for Barcelona. Photo: Americanistadechiapas.

Yes, Barça’s downfall, if and when it comes, will not be masterminded by Real Madrid’s scheming coach José Mourinho, but rather by the unlying hips of Shakira, the new girlfriend of the Catalan team’s central defender Gerard Piqué.

As I write this, I’m listening to Dónde están los ladrones, Shakira’s Andean diva-rock masterpiece, released in 1998 (when Piqué was 12 years old, incidentally). It’s striking because it’s so different to the 2011 Shakira. The sound verges on Alanis Morissette territory with lyrics that are tough and honest. The album cover shows a dark-haired, indie-looking Shakira, wearing a dowdy dress and with her hands covered in dirt. At this stage in her career she refused to wear jewellery on principle (I’m not sure what principle, but I admired her for it anyway).

Not long after, she clearly realised that more people needed to hear her music. She ditched the dowdy rocker garb (in fact she ditched most of her clothes altogether), learned how to write lyrics in English by listening to Bob Dylan and the rest is history. Now, as a World-Cup-anthem-hooting, belly-button waggling, latin-pop leviathan, she is ruthlessly conquering the world. Unfortunately, this means she now gives us lyrics such as: “How can you do me so much good / I’m so happy I should get sued”. Surely Dylan didn’t inspire that?

But my point is, Shakira is a truly global megastar and she has joined a team, FC Barcelona, which doesn’t embrace megastardom. Coach Guardiola is allergic to egos – just ask Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, all of whom he jettisoned at great cost in his obsessive quest for team unity. Pep’s Barça is full of extraordinary talent, but it’s talent that has barely any interest for the paparazzi and which gels because of a finely honed team ethic. Andrés Iniesta has to be the most unassuming man ever to score a World Cup-winning goal and even Messi manages to avoid the front-page headlines. In recent years it’s Real Madrid that has accommodated the stars, from Luis Figo and David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo.

All that has changed with the Colombian songstress’ arrival in Barcelona and the subsequent ¡Hola! magazine front-page photograph of her and Piqué holding hands. And as if to confirm the celebrity significance of this marriage between football and pop, this week Piqúe has been unveiled as the new face of clothing company Mango.

So Guardiola, as he glances at newspaper advertisements featuring his superb central defender dressed up in blazers and bow ties, must be tearing out the little hair that remains on his head. How can this not undermine all the hard work he has invested in team spirit? Forget the 2009 Champions League title, the two liga trophies, or the 5-0 hammering of Real Madrid: Guardiola’s biggest challenge could be in the form of a petite young lady with a big voice from Barranquilla.

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Published: Feb 28 2011
Category: Iberoblog
Republication: Creative Commons, non-commercial
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3 Comments for “It’s Shakira Barcelona should fear, not Real Madrid”

  1. “World-Cup-anthem-hooting, belly-button waggling, latin-pop leviathan” – brilliant!

  2. This foto is a FAKE! At the original pic she’s with her brother! But i have to say the person who did it knows how to use photoshop 😀 hahaha

  3. are we seriously trying to blame shakira for barcas less than perfect games!!!
    if pique is having difficulty there are only one people to blame and that’s the evil little papparazzi chasing him everywhere he goes and even hiding behind bushes
    and those horrid little fan girls are probably causing him as much grief as these paps.

    p.s that photo of shakira and pique isnt really pique some guy photoshopped piques head onto some other guys head.

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