MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 16: Raul Albiol (L) of Real Madrid duels for the ball with David Villa (C) of Barcelona besides Ricardo Carvalho during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 16, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
It’s just a couple of hours away, the second installment of the El Clasico World Series, the 2011 Copa del Rey final. Will the second of four games be more of a football game or just another demonstration of “How to park the bus”?
Last week I asked which of the following records would be broken:
a) Pep’s winning streak against Real Madrid
b) Lionel Messi’s goal duck against a Jose Mourinho managed side
c) Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal duck against FC Barcelona
As it turned out, all three records were rendered obsolete. One thing neutrals are not hoping for, is the repeat of last Saturday’s boring football match, and chances are that the audience will be treated to a much more intense game. After all, tonight’s game is a one-off match, meaning there’s no return leg thus making the passive approach a rather risky bet.
Should FC Barcelona prevail and win the Copa del Rey, it could be the first piece of Silverware of the season with one hand already on the La Liga trophy. A defeat against eternal rivals Real Madrid would not necessarily derail the campaign of the Blaugrana, but would a serious dent in Barca’s treble aspirations.
Real Madrid has much more to lose than FC Barcelona has to gain. A victory would end Real Madrid’s mini-drought of two years without a single trophy. Neither Pep Guardiola nor Jose Mourinho is willing to forfeit the chance for a title, even if it’s just the Copa.
With the race for the league title all but dead, a defeat for Real Madrid would only leave the UEFA Champions League as the only realistic chance at silverware. Moreover, it could decide the fate of Jose Mourinho spell in Madrid.
Mourinho’s decision to play an ultra-defensive match against the Catalans has proven to be highly unpopular with football analysts and to a certain degree, the fans.
Surprisingly, Real Madrid icon/greatest Blanco of all-time, Alfredo Di Stefano, decided to weigh-in on the debate and slam the Portuguese’s tactics, much to the dismay of Mourinho. The special one in turn defended his approach by stating “I decide how Madrid plays, not Di Stefano”.
If I didn’t lost track, Jose Mourinho is now at the odds with Madrid’s sporting director, Jorge Valdano, is said to have a rather frosty relationship with Blanco President Florentino Perez, and very publicly defied club icon Alfredo Di Stefano. At this rate, Jose Mourinho must deliver something very soon if he wants to justify his position as Real Madrid manager.
Let’s just hope that tonight’s occasion will not mark the Mourinho-era in Madrid. For all I care, Mourinho was better placed in the peninsula of Italy.
For more Barca Blaugranes coverage of the Copa del Rey El Clasico check out the following links:
Why FC Barcelona will beat Real Madrid by Arron Duckling
A Brief Moment in El Clasico History by Bostjan Cernensek
Copa del Rey Final Barca Blaugranes Predictions by yours truly
Jose Mourinho’s long-ball tactics and counter-effective strategies by Shehryar Khan
Latest news and predictions for the Copa del Rey final by Gabriel Roberts
How many goals do you expect in tonight's Copa del Rey Clasico Final?
No goals in regular time (5 votes)
Two goals (10 votes)
Three goals (10 votes)
Four goals or more (12 votes)
37 total votes