Everyone knows that the football world stops in order for Real Mourinho (Madrid) to go to batlle when they face their fiercest rival in the ever fearsome Barcelona, twice a year in has been hailed as the El Clasico.
The hype surrounding this one has been at a fever pitch. For Jose and his boys have been jawing off to anyone that would listen. Pep has been able to keep shut in the war of words against “The Special One”. Was he keeping a secret? Who knows. There was a lot of hype because it was Mourinho, some say he is the best manager in the planet, returning to the Nou Camp a few months after embarrassing the Catalonia heroes with Inter.
As for Barca, it was just business as usual. Before the game they behind in points to Los Blancos and could not afford to let this game take a turn for the worst.
I won’t talk about the game because it was horrific to watch because I was rooting for Real Madrid (Never forgive and never forget that CL tie with Barca those many moons against. Chelsea was robbed and cheated I tell you). It was game over before it even started. 5-0 Barca was the final result. I am not here to talk about the actual gameplay because it was another fine display of pure Barca football outclassing Jose and his superstars.
One point that I do want to mention is the mindset going into the game for both teams.
Real Madrid are riding high, they embody the definition of swagger. You have pride and confidence in your playing ability and of your mates. You have the coach that is the envy of everyone. You play for the biggest sporting club in the planet. Everything is working out for the best, all the games are looking to be cupcake wins. Everyone wants to be you, everyone wants to wear the shirt that you wear, everyone wants to kiss the crest after punching the old onion bag. You can go speak in the papers, go ahead and give the reporters the line of the night. Jose will probably look at you with favor for doing that. Talk up how easy this game will be. Talk about how you have figured out the enigma that is Barcelona. The game is yours to lose and you don’t intend on flying back to Madrid with anything less than three points and bragging rights for a few months as you stay atop the table.
Barca is coming at this from a totally different point of view. They are a team that is not full of loud personalities. They let their playing do all of the talking. They are a team that mentally beats you before you even go onto the pitch. Even if you somehow find a way to hold all of your marbles before the kickoff, have fun chasing shadows all 90 minutes long. Their style of play is not all too complex, I find it to be very basic. When you move up the field, with or without the ball, you always have support. You always know that you are no more that a few feet from another teammate. You always know that you can pass your way out of any situation. You always know that you have the moves to evade a few opponents before setting up a fat chance in front of goal. The passes are always dizzying and lull the opposition before you slice up the defense with a quick 1-2-1-2 and boom, a goal just happened. You never play a long ball and if you do, you are only switching the point of attack across the pitch.
The confidence is always high when it comes to both of these clubs but running out of the tunnel, it is the style of play that matches up with Barca that will always win. It is hard to beat a club that gets over 60 percent of possession. They rarely get exposed on the counter because they have the best center back pairing in the game and a fabulous shot stopper in Valdes. Real try to beat you on the counter and instill fear by having all of these playmakers. They can hit you from any place on the pitch, Real, but they lack the heart and grit when it comes to games like this one. They are missing that grind it out and tough it out mentality that makes Barca champions. Real look to me, at least, all flash and very little substance. How many games have Real jumped out in front in the opening 15 minutes? How many games did CR7 score on their first possession? Real makes you play from behind before your feet are even set. Barca beats you over the course of the game or they beat you before you are even out of the locker room. They can toy with you all game long. They can give you the ball and say “beat us I dare you”. They can take the ball away for long stretches of the game like today, they had the ball for 20 minutes straight in this one.
Jose thought he had them right where he wanted them. He felt that he had cracked the code but in classic Barca fashion they passed and passed and passed their way to another win. Excuses are not in order but Jose will never accept this as a loss or defeat. Pep looked at the tape and made the necessary changes. Pep showed not only who was the bigger man but also a more rightful heir to the most respected hot seat in all of football, Manchester United. He made the self - anointed “Special One” look like the foolish one.