Four 'El Clasicos': Time for fantasy football
Following the progression of both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League this week, the stage is now set for four 'El Clasicos' in just 19 days. It is set to be a entertainment and festival of footballing brilliance for the neutral.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are due to meet on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga action, also facing each other in the Copa del Rey final and as well as in Europe's most prestigious tournament.
Be ready for some fantasy football where you will get to see the combination of both excellence and entertainment. The fans of Real Madrid and Barcelona desire not just success, but also some classy football so that they enjoy the atmosphere.
The latest 'El Clasico' that took place on November 29, 2010 was arguably one of the the most one-sided match between them where Barcelona thumped Real Madrid 5-0 at the Nou Camp. What Barcelona provided was a near flawless display of footballing prowess in the biggest club game in the world.
But don't expect the coming matches will also be one-sided and Real Madrid will allow Barcelona to rip them apart. Jose Mourinho rarely makes the same mistake twice and surely this time around the Special One has a plan to counter Barcelona's attacking threat.
Barcelona's style of football is total fantasy which surely can't be matched by any team in the planet. Their game involves fast-paced possession football when attacking, and a highly organised pressing game while they are defending or when they are without the ball.
At Real Madrid, style is important, but ultimately secondary. Victory is the highest aspiration of the Bernabeu faithful. The style of play really does not matter, though the fans want stylish football but for them victory is most important with or without class.
The most important thing in these matches will be the fatigue factor. Who has the mental and physical strength at this stage of the season to win it all. Barca surely have an advantage here.
Barcelona have less problems with playing two games per week than Real Madrid. The biggest difference between the two clubs is their style of play and that is the reason why Madrid struggle with the busy schedule.
Barca always dominate their games and have a lot of possession. Real Madrid on the other hand get a lot more tired because they always win the ball far away from their opponents' goal. That means that they have to do a lot more running. Both going forward and in defence.
Looking at the both the squads, Barcelona are surely the favourites, likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Lionel Messi, David Villa, Alves, Pedro can just mesmerise the opponent with class and one touch football.
Jose Mourinho will be happy that Madrid goes in these matches as underdogs but they have the class of their own footballing greats. The addition of Emmanuel Adebayor in front of Cristiano Ronaldo has been huge for them, adding an extra dimension to their play.
Along with the resurgence of Benzema and a return to fitness for Gonzalo Higuain, Real suddenly find themselves with four top level strikers to unleash. With Kaka also returning back to full fitness and form and with Mesut Ozil in the playing eleven Madrid can match every threat that will be thrown at them.
And looking at Mourinho's past and footballing intelligence, he surely won't treat the La Liga match as importantly as other three. The crucial fixtures are clearly the Champions League games. With the title seemingly gone for Real, the league match has little more than pride riding on it, while the Copa del Rey is undoubtedly a tertiary priority in these two sides' seasons.
Mourinho's desire to be the first coach to retain the trophy in the Champions League era should not be underestimated. Barcelona were eliminated by the hands of this man last season at the same stage and with his footballing brain there is every possibility that history might repeat itself.
Both the teams will surely go for away draw and home win, so away goals will surely be crucial in this one. Barcelona won't change their style of football in both the legs and that can favour Real Madrid. Mourinho has a very cunning tactic whenever he faces Barca, he dictate his players not to leave their position and play for counter and if this tactic works then surely Madrid can advance in this one and book the date at Wembley.
More about Abhishek NandwaniNot a sports enthusiast by choice, Abhishek has been brought up with the passion as playing turned into scribbling.
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