One well-known Barcelona man who was certainly not thrilled by the Blaugrana’s Champions League triumph against Manchester United was Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of international publishing phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind

and the biggest-selling contemporary writer in Spanish.


The Catalan capital is the setting for Zafon’s works, which have been translated into 45 languages, but the ‘mes que un club’ (more than a club) mantra has never been one of his.


“I don’t take it too seriously,” Barcelona-born Zafón told Soccerphile about the club’s cultural grip on the city and region. “I take it more with a pinch of salt. It’s not a matter of life or death is it, eleven men against eleven kicking around a ball.” For more info, check out –


The horror! I was shocked that anyone from Barcelona could fail to be taken in by such a big event as their city’s famous club winning the ultimate club prize. I like to think football is the world’s greatest unifying force, a tidal wave of popular feeling at times like this. And that no club breaches the boundaries of the stadium to define its wider community more than Barcelona does. Have you been to the Camp Nou and its museum? It is a cathedral for a mass faith, isn’t it? Maybe not.


Meeting Zafón, in London to promote his new title, ‘The Angel’s Game’, I was reminded of the first time I went to Liverpool to see a match at Anfield. I had been expecting every Liverpudlian to be a mine of soccer knowledge and a world away from the snobbish middle-class folk of my southern home county for whom a knowledge of football was a real rarity…I was rebuffed when the first Scousers I spoke to told me they weren’t really interested in football and preferred to watch horse-racing…To each his own, I shrugged, but what a comical let-down.


Of course, when football gets really big it is a national TV event which reels in all but the most die-hard curmudgeons, and even Señor Zafón, who now resides in Los Angeles, cannot escape that.


Was Zafón interested at all in FCB’s Champions League victory in Rome? “I was a little bit,” he conceded. I am happy for them when they win as it is such a big thing in Barcelona.”


United Sign Valencia While Ronaldo Completes Record Move


It’s all change at Old Trafford as one winger leaves and another is brought in to take his place. As Cristiano Ronaldo completed his world record £80million transfer to Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson wasted no time licking his wounds and has instead snapped up Ecuador star Antonio Valencia.


The former Wigan Athletic winger put pen to paper on a four-year deal on Tuesday night, in a transfer believed to have cost United around £16million. Valencia had been linked with a move to Old Trafford for the last 12 months and Ferguson said: “Antonio is a player we have admired for some time now, having spent the last two years in the Premier League with Wigan.


“I am sure his pace and ability will make a significant contribution to the team.”


The 23 year old is one of a number of foreign players to have made their name at Wigan in recent years and he was quick to thank his former employers. He said: “I hope the fans at Wigan can understand that I am an ambitious guy and a chance like this might never come again for me.


“I am happy that the club has benefited from the move financially because I owe them such a lot. I have had a great time here.”


Many have been impressed by the way Valencia has adapted to the English game, however he will need to continue improving if he is to fill the sizeable void left by Ronaldo. Up for particular scrutiny will be his goalscoring prowess – while Ronaldo regularly scored upwards of 20 goals a season, Valencia managed just three last term.


With the World and European Player of the Year now firmly planted in Madrid, the pressure is on both Valencia and Ferguson to come up with the goods. There is no doubt that the United boss has acted quickly and decisively in finding a replacement but will it be a case of true love or has Alex been caught on the rebound? Football betting on that one would certainly be interesting!