Homage to Catalonia

When Europe's top teams clashed, an American fan confronted a painful choice

In Europe and Latin America, your fate as a soccer fan is predetermined. Your father's team tends to become your team, end of story. We Americans are blissfully liberated from the weight of such history. When we become passionate about international football, we have the luxury of choosing our allegiances, of falling in love with whichever club suits us best. This freedom means that you will never tether yourself to an eternally hopeless bottom-dwelling club--unless that's your masochistic bent. You can pick a club that squares with your identity--be it gritty and hardworking, or champagne flash.

This was, indeed, a beautiful freedom--until this...

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