Barcelona and Real Madrid warm up in style for El Clasico
Barcelona and Real Madrid prepared themselves for their ‘El Clasico’ showdown by demolishing their respective opponents in ruthless manner.
Almeria and Athletic Bilbao resembled the men from that memorable scene in ‘Gladiator’ – stepping out of their cages knowing already that they were about to be slaughtered. With the aim of sending a message to each other, the two heavyweights of Spanish football delivered performances which are normally confined to the boxing ring.
The battering of Almeria was completed within the first half as the Catalans rushed to a 5-0 lead before eventually winning 8-0. While Real Madrid took their time in dismantling Bilbao slowly and painfully before culminating things with a last minute Cristiano Ronaldo penalty to run out 5-1 victors.
Talking of the ex-poster boy of the English shores, his newfound Mohawk inspired him to a hat-trick much like his Barcelona counterpart, Lionel Messi, who could do with a visit to CR7’s barber. The two players led their teams admirably and a showdown between them is as anticipated as the game itself.
And just to make his message clear, Ronaldo hammered in another couple of goals against Ajax last night and now it will be the Argentine’s turn to take the stage in Barca’s encounter against Panathinaikos. Like two rappers dishing out verses, these two superstars have been making mockery of all before them and are visibly charged up for ‘El Clasico’.
Last year things were looking much the same for these two teams before their clash and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal proved to be the difference. This time, a certain Jose Mourinho may have a few things to say. He may have proclaimed his love for the English game during his visit to the island on Sunday, but he will be totally focussed on his job at hand i.e. leading Real Madrid to glory.
Mourinho will return to the dugout after a two-game ban and his presence will most certainly be required if Los Galacticos have any hopes of getting a result against the Blaugrana. The Special One will be wary though seeing as he has never gotten the better of Barca on their own patch. His record at the Camp Nou does not make for a very pretty reading – P6 D2 L4.
Real’s inability to beat their Catalan rivals ultimately cost them the title last season and Mou will be anxious to ensure that his first Clasico does not end in defeat. The mood has already been set by the weekend thrashings and as we get closer to the day, the fact that the game is being played on a dour Monday night will be quickly forgotten.
In the meantime in Italy, Rafa Benitez’s tenure at Inter is soon becoming one to forget for the ex-Liverpool coach. The Italian champions slipped to their second successive loss in the league and are currently nine points behind their table-topping city rivals, AC Milan. The game against Twente in the Champions League hence has become vital to turn things around for the Nerazzurri.
While it is true that the European champions have been decimated by injuries to many of their first team regulars, sides like Brescia, Lecce and Chievo are not the ones you should struggle against either. It is rumoured that the English media’s favourite bashing boy has been given only a couple of games to save his future in the Italian fashion capital.
Quite how the treble winners have gone from being an unbeatable force under Mourinho to an ordinary assembly of soldiers under Benitez in just six months is a question many are pondering. The Spaniard may have never been much of a man motivator but his skills in disassembling a team were only known to some Liverpool fans as yet.
Rafa recently taunted Roy Hodgson claiming that “sometimes you can’t see a priest on a mountain of sugar” insinuating that at times one can’t spot the truth despite it staring in their face. He must now be praying that Inter’s Donald-Trump-wannabe-”You’re fired”-President Massimo Moratti does not reach the same conclusion that many around him have already drawn.Tagged in: Barcelona, benitez, el clasico, football, inter, Messi, mourinho, real madrid, Ronaldo
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