Triviela – Beyond Trivia

 The Trivela is a Portuguese term to denote the art of kicking the football with the outside of one’s foot. It is used to hide one’s weaker foot and also to suddenly fool the opposition with a wickedly swerving ball from a difficult angle. In Triviela, we will attempt to find some football feats/facts which would make you sit up and take note, like it happens when you see Ricardo Quaresma try these

Is Barcelona Popes’ own team? 

Barcelona 4-0 Real Madrid (1958), Barcelona 4-0 Las Palmas (1978), Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan (2013) -what connects these three results? The answer is divine, well almost. All three results coincided with the papal conclave.

The first such occasion it happened was on  October 26, 1958. Brazilian Evaristo De Macedo (top scorer for Barcelona that season) scored a hat-trick for Barcelona. Meanwhile Pope John XXIII was getting elected as the new Pope through a rigorous voting process – known as the papal conclave –  from October 25-28,1958. The “divine intervention” helped Barcelona to beat a Real Madrid team having the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas (the top two scorers of La Liga that season) and they went on to win the La Liga title.

In 1978, Pope John Paul I passed away after holding the office for only 33 days.The consequent papal conclave started on October 14 and after two days, Pope John Paul II was elected. Barcelona was facing UD Las Palmas at home on the same day. Las Palmas, who had finished runner-up in Copa Del Rey in the previous season after losing 1-3 to  Barcelona, were having a good season till then. But they ran into a determined Barca side who thrashed them 4-0 led by two goals from Hans Krankl, who went on to become the highest scorer in La Liga that season despite Barca’s pathetic performance. Incidentally, this season was one of Barca’s worst – they finished fifth in La Liga.

Macedo, Krankl and Messi (L to R), the three heroes
Macedo, Krankl and Messi (L to R), the three heroes

On  March 12, 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope in nearly 700 years to resign, the cardinal electors convened at Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Meanwhile, Barcelona was facing AC Milan in the round of 16 match of UEFA Champions League. AC Milan won the first leg by 2-0 at San Siro, a venue that is about 360 kilometres  from the Vatican City. But Barcelona turned around the deficit with a brace from Lionel Messi and a goal apiece from David Villa and Jordi Alba to advance to the quarter-finals. Messi, however, wasn’t the only Argentine to make the headlines that week. The newly elected Pope Francis was also an Argentine.

There is a myth that Barcelona always wins during a papal conclave – this has not been always true. The last time a papal conclave took place before 2013, was in 2005 and Barcelona lost 2-4 to Real Madrid. It was their first defeat during the meeting of the College of Cardinals. Still, the three 4-0 records  are interesting, especially for football statisticians.