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Now a few days have passed, I’d like to tell you about our experience the other day, when we got to play at Camp Nou for the first time. As you know, I’ve been a Barça fan since I was born so it was a very special day for me.
We were talking about it all over Christmas, and my aunt said that the first game I saw at Camp Nou was between Barça and Espanyol when I was six. We have fondly kept some photos of that day. Even one with the Barça Grandfather!
We used to go by coach with the Mollet supporter’s club, which I still belong to. Who’d have said that I’d be playing there myself one day!
It was the best Kings Day gift. Because of the circumstances, Their Majesties came to our house on the evening of the 5th, because I had to focus on the game the morning after. I was pretty calm about it at first but as the minutes ticked by I started getting butterflies in my stomach...
The first game I saw at Camp Nou was between Barça and Espanyol when I was six“
I was wondering what the Camp Nou would look like from the pitch and things started going through my head... But I always try to focus on specific things that happen in a game, about the opposition and my team-mates, and not so much about the venue.
In the afternoon, heading to the Camp Nou, I was a bit surprised. I didn’t know that there is nothing left of the Miniestadi. I stopped at the traffic light and all the memories started flooding back!
The time had come. The whole team was inside the stadium. I went straight out for a pitch inspection. I can assure you that it’s amazing what you see as you walk out that tunnel. And that’s without any fans in the terraces!
It was a privilege to be captain that day. When I led the ‘war cry’ in the pregame huddle, I told the others to set aside any emotions that might neutralise our game and to focus on competing. It’s sad in a way, because you shouldn’t think about enjoyment but just about winning and doing everyone’s bit to help win the league. It is only when you get home and watch the highlights that you realise that you really did play at the Camp Nou. I must confess that I wasn’t aware of where I was playing until it was over.
I must confess that I wasn’t aware of where I was playing until it was over“
We created a lot of chances in the first half, some very good ones, but we couldn’t score. You might think that’s because we were affected by anxiety, but that’s not the case. For me, inside, I was thinking we were playing at the Johan.
I’d had a couple of good chances, especially one from a Patri pass that I was furious not to make the most of. But I could redeem myself in the 44th minute from a corner. The staff had told me that the near post was one of Espanyol’s weak spots, and that’s where I was told to go. Caro’s cross was perfect, just the right tension and height. I just had to time the jump right, because my marker was trying to destabilise me, and direct the ball right. With the right spin and power on the ball, the finish from the far post came naturally.
Just seeing the ball go in was thrilling. I felt so proud, especially for my family. After the celebrations and as we went back to our positions, I was alone for a moment and that’s when it came home that I had scored my first goal at the Camp Nou. But after ten seconds, I had to focus on playing again.
I was always confident that we’d win the derby. After Mel scored the third goal, I think the team got a bit of release. We could finally play with joy, it was more fluid, while the opposition was also starting to tire.
After winning 5-0, we all got together to share the moment with the fans. It was a bittersweet moment. There was something missing and that photo of us all at the end is in honour of all the people who couldn’t be there, especially the fans who have always been there for us at the Johan, and our friends and families who have always given us such unconditional support.
I thank the club for opening the stadium to us fifty years after the first pioneers got to do so. I hope we can do it again very soon, but this time with all the Culers close to us too.
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