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April 11, 2011 | by  | in Online Only |
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El Clasico: Barcelona or Bust

There are a number of great rivalries in sport: the Yankees and Red Sox; the English and Australian cricket teams; the All Blacks and Springboks. These rivalries are what make sport more than an entertaining game. They are placed on a divine pedestal as they are the finest and most exciting examples of sporting prowess. This is because it is not only two teams against each other. It is colony defying empire, city fighting city, a national culture struggling with an oppressive State. There is no bigger rivalry than that between the Spanish football teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid. No rivalry is more passionate or more understandable, and no rivalry is more pertinent right now than this one.

The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid is a multi-faceted one. They are the two best teams in the national league, but more than that, it reflects the cultural and political differences between two peoples: the Catalans (Barcelona) and Castilians (Madrid). The Catalans were oppressed by the military dictators of Spain who banned the expression of the regional cultures and languages (until about 1975). Because of this, Catalans rallied behind FC Barcelona as it was the only place they could safely express their nationalism and culture which was in opposition to the fascist regime of the Spanish government. Real Madrid however, embodied this regime as they were the dictator, General Franco’s club.

Every year the El Clasico is played between the two clubs and it is still a fierce competition between two vastly different cultures. Within the next 6 weeks the clubs could face each other up to 4 times in La Liga, the Copa Del Rey final (King’s Cup) and possibly the semi-finals of Europe’s most prestigious competition the Champions League. If the game earlier in this season is anything to go by then Barcelona will be hot favourites going into this game. They defeated Madrid 5-0 in one of the most embarrassing displays of football many would have been witness to. Madrid was outclassed in all facets of the game, Barcelona seemingly running rampant over their exuberantly-priced stars. Madrid then, humiliated, acted out in disgusting fashion with Christiano Ronaldo shoving the Barcelona coach on the sideline and Sergio Ramos being sent off for pushing Carles Puyol in the face. Although their pay-cheques suggest otherwise, Madrid were left throwing a tantrum like petulant children.

So what can we expect from the upcoming games between these teams? Obviously there will be no love lost and I feel some blood will be exchanged. Madrid are the obvious underdogs but no one could predict that they will perform as atrociously as they did against Barcelona last time round. Or is Barcelona just too good for their great foes? They boast the world’s best player, and you would struggle to find anyone who would suggest that it is possible – even if there were other life forms somewhere deep in space – someone could even come close to matching Lionel Messi’s mind-fuck footwork, pace and finishing ability. But ‘the special one’ will not roll over and die that easily as he chases another Champions League, League, Domestic Cup treble.

Jose Mourinho’s tactical nous will be pushed to the limits in the upcoming weeks if he is going to achieve this uphill battle. If anyone knows how to beat the juggernaut that is Barcelona it is him. How enjoyable it would be however, to see ‘the special one’ humbled once more to mere mortal significance, just as he was on the weekend when his unbeaten home record which spanned four clubs and nine years was destroyed by the La Liga minnows Sporting Gijon. Barcelona however, are flying high as they have extended their League lead to an almost unassailable 8 points.

Real Madrid will have to break down the stonewall defence of Puyol, be as classy and sharp as Xavi, and shutdown the deadly finisher that is Villa and the majesty that is Messi. To beat Barcelona who are so far ahead of them and is possibly the greatest ever club team to grace this planet would be like the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series… it’s not gonna happen.

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Comments (3)

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  1. kay says:

    We know you are going to get to that neck of the woods in the not too distant future and sort them all out! Good writing and comment, Jono

  2. Issy says:

    Good point. I hadn’t thoghut about it quite that way. :)

  3. Electrum Greenstone says:

    Comment Deleted by Article Creator

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