El Classico: Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Barcelona and Real Madrid go head-to-head in one of world footballs most eagerly anticipated derbies – better known as ‘El Classico’ – next week.
The game will be played on 29 November at eh Camp Nou in Barcelona. It truly is a clash of the titans. The two clubs have won the La Liga 49 times between them. Real Madrid holds the upper hand with 31 league titles compared to Barcelona’s 18. Recent form favours Barcelona, as they are the defending champions and managed to win both league fixtures against their bitter rivals last season.
Real Madrid will be hoping to bounce back this year under the leadership of the charismatic and controversial Jose Mourinho. He makes this match even more fascinating, after famously knocking Barcelona out of the UEFA Champions league with Inter Milan last season. Mourinho, a former member of the Barcelona coaching staff, came back to haunt the Camp Nou with Inter. After victory with Inter, ‘the special one’ celebrated rather emphatically, much to the annoyance of the Barcelona.
On the other hand Barcelona is under the guidance of the immaculate Pep Guardiolla. Pep has managed to mould Barcelona into a formidable outfit, feared by everyone in world football. He has followed in the footsteps of the great Johan Cryuff, playing a brand of football known as ‘total football’. In two seasons Guardiola has managed to lead Barcelona to six titles including successive La Liga titles.
Both managers are world class, and have proved their worth. Pep holds the advantage as his team will be playing in front of 120,000 home fans. The Camp Nou is a very intimidating arena for visiting teams, and the atmosphere will be even more hostile as the Catalans host their arch rivals – the Madridistas.
As far as on the field performers are concerned, they don’t come any bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Both players have amassed a combined total of 28 goals in 12 league games, with 15 and 13 goals respectively. That brings us to the eternal question, who is better Ronaldo or Messi? There is no greater stage for both of them to answer that question. Both players come into the game after scoring a hat trick each in their last league games. There will be no shortage of confidence that is for sure.
The game isn’t going to be just about Ronaldo and Messi though, other superstars will also play a key role in this huge game. Some of the stars from this year’s FIFA world cup will also be featuring. Mesut Ozil, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos are expected to be in the Madrid line up. Whereas Barcelona’s team sheet will have the likes of Carles Puyol, Dani Alves, Xavi, Andreas Iniesta and David Villa on it. Just the thought of all that world class talent showcasing their skills on the same pitch is unbelievable.
If recent form is anything to go by, then there is nothing to separate the two giants of Spanish football. Real Madrid lead Barcelona in La Liga by a single point. Real Madrid has 32 points and Barcelona 31, after 12 games in the league. Both teams come into this game on the back of comprehensive victories. Barcelona thrashed Almeria 8-0 while Real Madrid stomped past Bilbao 5-1. Real Madrid is unbeaten so far, but Barcelona has lost one game at home against newly promoted Hercules.
As far as football matches are concerned, they don't come any bigger than this. Invariably the fate of the Spanish league will be decided by the two games between these two star studded outfits.
Who will draw first blood this year? Will it be Mourinho, who weaves his magic yet again or will it be the classy Pep who will come out on top? All will be answered next Monday.