The world's biggest football match...el Clasico .
Those who love football will not, under any circumstances, miss out on this spectacle. Most spectators who will watch the game have a definitive preference for either the hosts of this season's edition, FC Barcelona, or the visitors Real Madrid.
Two games sum up the 2008-2009 season for Real Madrid—March 10, Liverpool 4, Real Madrid 0 and May 2, Barcelona 6, Real Madrid 2. A season that ended with humiliation and shame, regardless of the fantastic run of 18 unbeaten games in La Liga. A season that started with injuries, a sacked coach, and a disgraceful president was doomed to end in that way.
And to make all this even worse, Barcelona put salt on their wounds by wining everything. It was a season be forgotten by every Madritista around the world and what a better way to fix things than to re-install Florentino Perez. With him the stars will come, and that is exactly what happened.
The stars came.
A new coach and a new era begun with a bang—nine wins, one draw, and only one loss. Real Madrid scored 27 goals, allowed nine, and won in their latest encounter against Racing Santander. Things are starting to get rosy for the men in white. After all, it is their best start in 18 years, not to forget they are leading there group in the CL which is a big boost prior to the Camp Nou adventure.
Some of the optimist Madritista’s put them in the front seat prior to the most important match in the world. But wait a minute, aren’t we forgetting something? There is a tiny little something called El Triplet champions. Pep Guardiola’s Dream Team. They are still the current champions of well, everything.
Coming into el Clasico, Barcelona is second in La Liga with eight wins and three draws. They have scored 29 goals, while only allowing eight. Barcelona is leading their CL group after bulldozing Inter Milan with so much ease that people might have thought it was a training game for them. The most amazing thing was that they played the match without their main striker Ibrahimovich and the dazzling magician Messi.
On paper they look very similar to each other, but on the field—well that's a whole different story. With all the new players in Real Madrid , it is clear they are not clicking so well as a team. They have an issue getting used to one another. A situation that needs more time that most people think. As for Barcelona, they are not on the same dangerous level as they were last year, but they are starting to get there.
Adjusting the team to accompany Ibrahimovich in attack instead of the great Samuel Eto'o is taking them sometime, and replacing the mighty Yaya Toure with the pint size Busquets is something no one knows the benefit of except Guardiola.
Other than these two issues, things are looking good for them. Barcelona got a really good back up for Abidal (as in Maxwill) when they promoted Pedro. Pedro is showing good promise and starting to cement himself in the starting 11 in every game he is playing. Messi and Ibrahimovich are starting to get more familiar with each other as well.
The key is Xavi and Iniesta.
Finally, Guardiola realized that experimenting with Iniesta is wrong, and that by putting him next to his partner in crime Xavi, they will dominate the game as they did last year. They simply showed Inter Milan on Thursday night what a creative midfield is all about— they were simply unstoppable.
If Real Madrid wants to have a chance in pulling a good fight in Camp Nou, they need to stop these two, and from what i saw it will be one hell of a task.
So what if Barcelona wins this match?
It all comes down to if the men in white produce a good match with glimpses of flowing football (which they are capable of). A lost to Barcelona by a small margin should be considered a good result. Barcelona should really be worried about what Real Madrid can do in the second part of La Liga. it will be a big boost to Real Madrid, especially on Pellegrini’s side.
But if Barcelona demolishes them like they did last year or like they humiliated Inter on Thursday, then it will take a big toll on the Madrid players, fans, and management, Everyone will loose faith in the team very early in the season which is going to be a very good outcome in the eyes of the Barcelona faithful.
*Disclaimer: This has been a collaborative effort from me & Jubei Kibagame who wrote from a FC Barcelona supporters perspective*