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Abhishek Nandwani
Monday , November 28, 2011 at 09 : 38

Step aside Barca, it's 'Real' time for glory


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Step aside Barcelona, your time at the top is surely going to be over this season. You are getting too predictable and people are getting bored of your tiki-taka. No, I am not a Madrid fan here and neither do I have anything against Barcelona. However, it's for the good of Spanish football that there should be a changing of the guard.

On Saturday, one thing that every neutral fan would have enjoyed is watching Barcelona lose and Madrid going clear at the top by six healthy points. With El Clasico in the corner, a win at home for Madrid will mean that surely one hand is on the trophy, and with not even half of the season gone by, nine points will be surely a huge gap at the top.

With Barcelona looking beatable this season and Madrid going from strength to strength under Jose Mourinho in his second year in charge, the time has come for the tide to change its way and the most successful club in the history of football should show Barcelona that they are still the top dogs even though in the last three years they've lost ground on them.

Barcelona have won the title in each of the last three years. On the last two occasions that Real Madrid were forced to suffer three straight campaigns away from the top spot they recovered at the fourth attempt to be crowned champions again, and in both instances, Barcelona were one of the teams that they overhauled to return to prominence.

Many will still feel that Barca have the best squad. With Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi they have the best three players in the world, all playing for Barca. But with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Gonzalo Higuain and Kaka, squad-wise Madrid are slightly ahead of Barcelona keeping in mind the bench strength for both the teams. As the season continues, bench strength will surely count.

Barcelona spent a lot over the summer, with Cesc Fabregas adding much to the midfield consisting of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano, Ibrahim Afellay, Seydou Keita and Thiago Alcantara. Alexis Sanchez has been captured, but Real Madrid also did a magnificent bit of business in adding five fresh faces. The most high-profile newcomer was Benfica left back Fabio Coentrao, while Nuri Sahin joined having played a pivotal role in Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga triumph. Ex-academy star Jose Callejon has already showed what he can do with his pacy runs.

The biggest advantage for Real Madrid is the Mourinho factor. While in England he broke both Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger - driving them to distraction - and last year he showed enough signs that he is now out to gun down Barcelona. He made Pep Guardiola, the coolest man alive in his skinny tie, lose his temper more than once. For all Barcelona's claims of moral superiority, of doing things the right way, Mourinho has successfully highlighted that superiority.

Already this year Mourinho has created a storm of controversy, poking assistant manager Tito Vilanova in the eye after the Super Cup, carrying on like a comedy villain. The great rivals are now better matched in terms of talent, and it's now more than likely that Barcelona will be the side provoked into taking their eye off the ball.

You can criticise Mourinho as much you want but the fact will remain that no Pep could have made FC Porto win the Champions League, and that there was no way on earth that he could have won the Champions League with Inter Milan. The Portuguese tactician has been a champion in six of his eight completed seasons as a manager, only being made to settle for second in his third year at Chelsea and first in Spain.

Mourinho's best teams are defined by their single-minded pursuit of victory and the current crop is surely his team. They are united in gunning down a great Barcelona side and every neutral wants to see the end of dominance of Barcelona's side, at least for a year or two.


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Not a sports enthusiast by choice, Abhishek has been brought up with the passion as playing turned into scribbling.
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