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|La Liga Special: Clash of the Titans - Barcelona v Real Madrid - El Clasico|
We are only few hours away from the greatest derby in the world. This is certainly the most anticipated fixture in Spain and likewise for neutrals all over the world. The fixture, the derby, that features two of the best clubs in Spain – Real Madrid and Barcelona – has a certain vaunting grandeur in it that is hard to find in any parts of Europe.
But why this derby is so special?
Well from the view of the global audience, the cavalier approach adopted by both the teams makes the match fascinating to watch. So many world class players have graced this fixture with their scintillating goals and mesmerizing skills and today's best continue to ply their trade with these two clubs.
Take Manchester United and Liverpool, the biggest fixture in English football as a study in contrast. The game is traditionally popular amongst the both sets of fans but is it attractive to watch for any neutrals? The game gets cagey; both the teams deploy cautious approach, trying to out-wit one another hardly giving neutrals some spice to deal with except off the pitch controversies.
Despite the fact that in Spain football is more tactical and technical, El Clasico doesn’t deny their fans from enjoying a free flowing brand of football. Their fans appreciate that and for that matter any neutral would love that. Who would one like to see two best teams of the world playing a dull chess game? Being the worshipers of the beautiful game, they add tremendous entertainment value that is unmatched.
From the local perspective this is a derby in truest sense. Culture, politics, sociology, religion, history – from whatever angel you see, these two are meant to be rivals in binary. The strong roots of hatred add something more to this fixture.
A unique derby where fans appreciate the magic feet of their opposition players (Ronaldinho got standing ovation at Bernabeu) while can throw head of a pig to the player who they treat as Judas (Luis Figo received such treatment from Catalan fans).
Further this game has traditionally been a title decider. More so, in the modern era as La Liga’s structure has become more imbalanced as a result others teams cannot even come close to challenging them. This game not only comes as a relief from the monotonous routine destructions by the top two but ultimately boils down to a situation where victory/defeat decides the fate of the title.
Current season – hang in balance
It has been another extraordinary season in Spain. Prior to the new season, Jose Mourinho stated that his side will close the gap with Barcelona and will match them too.
He has kept his words. Real Madrid empirically has been the better team but only fly in the ointment remains the fact that his side has failed to get the better off their rivals.
Barcelona are superior to them in terms of quality and style. Jose has tried his best to dismantle tiki-taka but apart from blaming the referee he couldn’t come up with anything positive.
Madrid led the table by 10 points before the start of April. But a mini slump in result coupled with Barca’s extraordinary run meant the gap is now down to only four with five games remaining.
In such a situation, a defeat for Madrid will leave the title race ajar till the very end. However, a victory today will kill Barcelona’s every chances of winning the silverware.
Neither of the team is getting an undue advantage coming to this fixture. Los Blancos have lost the first round against Bayern Munich in the first semifinal leg at Allianz Arena and they need to put up a great fight within three days time to advance to the finals. Likewise, the Blaugrana have lost their semifinal first leg tie against English outfit Chelsea, and need to do beat the Blues with a better aggregate at Nou Camp in two days time.
They have many bigger games coming up, but this is the biggest. Let us know your predictions by tweeting me @Saikat_SAnchor and keep following SoccerAnchor on Facebook.