Friday, April 15, 2011

El Clasico

There is one game in club football that no football fan wants to miss. It does not matter who you support or which you league you follow. This is the one game that you always feel you must watch or you might be missing out on something extraordinary. There’s always a higher level of football being played when these two sides meet and you always feel that there’s something magical about to happen. Countless superstars are always on show for all of us to marvel at and this adds up to the whole spectacle. This is “El Classico”. This is Real Madrid vs F.C Barcelona.

I have no preference for either side, but I respect both equally. I do have a tendency to show some hatred towards both of them for different reasons: Real Madrid for poaching away so many of United’s players (Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Heinze, Ronaldo…) and Barcelona for simply beating every team that comes their way.

I also get quite annoyed at how lonesome the top of La Liga looks when you have a glance at their league table as it’s becoming more and more of a “Real Madrid/Barcelona vs the rest of the league” every season as the gap between the top 2 and the rest is growing wider every single season. But that doesn’t the disguise the fact that this is THE game that nobody misses. The fact that I, and other football fans, actually wait for these games every season shows how important they are. The fact that we show any form of hatred or jealousy towards both these clubs simply justifies that they are both great football clubs.

We, football fans, always seem to hate the teams that are winning and doing well. When the teams we support are hated by others, this usually goes to show that the teams we support must be doing something right. When your team becomes the envy, and by that the enemy, of all football fans, you know that team is on the right track. Being all nice and dandy in football isn’t what it’s about. If you’re looking for that, then Cricket or Squash might be your sport.

The fact that Barcelona and Real Madrid hate each other this much and are hated by so many this much, yet watched by all – shows their greatness.  It also shows how much respect they have for one another. No Madrileno or Catalan fan will ever admit it, but they have a sort of dependence on one another. Imagine a season without a “Clasico”, it would feel like there’s emptiness in the world of Football. They need to beat each other.

A Barcelona title win is that much sweeter when they know that Madrid were the team in second place below them, and the same goes for a Real Madrid title win. That can be said about any other trophy actually. As long as one stops the other from winning, there will be less pain losing afterwards. It’s the defeat against each other which hurts and which is what they both want to avoid.

In the coming 2 weeks, we’re going to have 4 “Classicos” to enjoy and hopefully we, the neutrals, can see a spectacle that’s good enough to keep our eyes stuck on our screens. Very rarely does this fixture disappoint on that level and I’m looking forward to all 4. All 4 games are going to have a determining factor on who wins La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. So here’s to having some more pigs’ heads, some more fights, some more brilliance, some more controversy, some more goals… Real Madrid vs Barcelona, I don’t care who wins, I just want to watch a bloody hate-filled entertaining match of football. Bring on El Clasico!

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  1. Gonna have to disagree with you on some points here.

    1) I, as a Juventus fan, admire Barcelona for having a similar approach of the 90's Juventus of graduating it's youth into the first team system and buying good peripheral players to make up a team. Added to that they have carried with them the dutch mentality of "Total Football", which makes their game very free flowing and makes it a spectacle,guided by a brilliant coach Josep Guardiola.
    On the other hand, I have nothing but hatred for Madrid, a team that has always bought the best players and the loyal servant and stars are always mistreated (Raul, Gutti, Helguera), adding to that throwing a loud/foul mouthed coach that wants nothing but to add controversy to the game.

    2) Saying that la Liga is a 2 horsed league and not looking at EPL is wrong.
    Valencia have won the Liga twice in the last 10 years, and Since the start of the EPL (brushing the lucky Blackburn team aside), 3 teams have been sharing the honors(Man utd, Arsenal, Chelsea).

    In my opinion, the nowadays Barca are an example to follow, I say it with no doubts.

    Forza Juve.

  2. Spanish La Liga winners since 1993:(5 different teams)
    2010 Barcelona
    2009 Barcelona
    2008 Real Madrid
    2007 Real Madrid
    2006 Barcelona
    2005 Barcelona
    2004 Valencia
    2003 Real Madrid
    2002 Valencia
    2001 Real Madrid
    2000 Deportivo La Coruna
    1999 Barcelona
    1998 Barcelona
    1997 Real Madrid
    1996 Athletico Madrid
    1995 Real Madrid
    1994 Barcelona
    1993 Barcelona

  3. Thanks for the comments Philip. I agree about the number of winners in the leagues as you've stated above. The EPL has only had 4 winners since its start in 1992.

    What I'm mentioning in this segment though is about the gap between 1st and 2nd (barca/madrid) with the rest of the league. There's now a 16 point gap between 2nd and 3rd.

    In La Liga, you can't see anyone challenging (not winning) for the title or even in the market for players in Spain besides Barca and Madrid, whereas in the EPL you have more challengers for the title and definitely more challengers in the market for big name players. (Of course we then go back into the whole money debate).

    But just on a league challenge point of view, no one comes close to the big 2 in Spain, that doesn't undermine the fact that both are great teams. I don't know if that means that those 2 are just too good or if the rest of the league is rubbish - but given the fact that they are both in the semis, it probably means the first option.

    P.S: I hate and respect both equally lol :p.

  4. I always like to bring the controversial comment forward and here's what I believe.
    In Seria A and la liga the gap in quality, tallent and organization between the table toppers and the ones that fall bellow mid table is HUGE! Not so much this season though in serie A mainly due to the decline of the untouchables.
    Having that makes for an easy season for the big guns while leaving no hope for the rest of the teams.

    Comparing those leagues to the EPL, it's true that the EPL has been won by 4 teams since its inception but those teams won it the Hard way.
    The league is very competitive, one can be top of the league during the xmas break and suffer a dip in form while ending the season in 4th place if not lower.
    Regardless of who wins the title, what matters most to a "football fan" not a specific team fan is a competitive league which is what the EPL offers unlike the liga where its a stroll in the park for barca breaking all humanly possible records in one season.

    One league in particular I'm very found of is the bundesliga. Since 1993 the league has been won by 6 different teams. Although the dominating one is obviously bayern munich, the league has always remained highly competitive especially as of late.
    The bundesliga is the only top5 league where one team can be a table topper one season and the next find themselves in relegation.
    Look at this years surprise package in the CPL shalke, they're currently laying in lower mid table and had to part ways with their coach almost a month ago and now they're in the semi-final after humiliating Inter.
    Hannover96 who barely made it last season out of relegation are currently threatening bayern munichs chances of qualifying for CPL next season.
    As a neutral football fan that would be a league I would like to watch for every team has a chance to cause an upset or a miracle while full of surprise and young talents emerging left in right with a mix of foreign imports.

    As for el clasico I will be skipping work every time they're meeting. This is as Epic as it gets, two big teams with big players, egos and reputations on the line battling it out on 3 battlefields headed by generals with experience and guile in their ranks.
    To me those games will decide the shape of the season. What makes it even more interesting is how unpredictable those fixtures are. One would be a fool to rule a team out of any of the competitions.
    This is football and these coming 2 weeks are as unpredictable and season defining as they get. Adjust your shin guards and tighten your shoe laces for your in for one hell of footballing endeavor.

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