MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Jose Mourinho the coach of Real Madrid and Pep Guardiola the coach of Barcelona shake hands prior to the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 27, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
All good things must come to an end. Well, in this case the preceding three Clasicos were anything but good. Regardless of the prior results, none of the previous games lived up to its hype. From La Liga’s dull draw, Copa del Rey’s marathon sprint to the first leg of UEFA’s Champions League semi-final el Disgustico, the audience has yet to watch a game that warrants the tag “El Clasico”.
Heading into the game, Real Madrid are chasing a two-goal deficit, at the Camp Nou of all places. But it is the off-pitch drama that has enticed the general public the most. Fortunately, Pep Guardiola didn’t feel inclined to respond to an accusation from Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, who, on his part, has been uncharacteristically media-shy in these last couple of days. Much has been said, even more written about the man nicknamed the “Special One”.
There’s not the slightest doubt that Mourinho is one of the best managers around but he is also the tactician who divides public opinion the most. His post-match rant on Wednesday evening set off an unfortunate chain of events that culminated in formal complaints from both, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Sadly, this marks a new low for both plaintiffs. The damage is done; the image of both teams has been stained.
For his role in el Disgustico, Jose Mourinho has been banned to watch tonight’s return-leg from the Camp Noustands. Those who have watched November’s edition of the El Clasico know that Jose Mourinho is not the most popular man in Catalunya. My personal take on the matter “Jose Mourinho made his bed, now he has to lie in it”.
Rivalries are what make sports so thrilling and exciting, and to a certain extent, animosities are part of just that. But this latest episode between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid exceeds the realm of regular rivalries; it’s more akin to dirty politics. In sports, rivalries should be settled on the pitch and not in the court. It sets a bad precedent. The Calcio debacle in Italy has set back Italian football for years.
While it is not possible for these two giants of European football to maintain friendly relationships, there has to be mutual respect on some level. But at the moment whatever is left of it is deteriorating at an accelerating speed. It has boiled over from the press-room to the pitch, to the media – where does it stop?
The Old Firm derby in Scotland (Glasgow Rangers vs. Celtic Glasgow) is just an example for what could go wrong. It’s just violent and senseless. I like a good debate as much as anyone but that’s where it ends for me, arguing and debating. For 90 minutes or so I’m oblivious to my Madrid friends but after that let’s get back to normal.
Hopefully, tonight’s game will be a football fest and not a continuation of madness.
For more coverage of the El Clasico on Barca Blaugranes check out:
El Clasico Sin Clase FC Barcelona 2-0 Real Madrid by Sabrina Dessipe
Jose Mourinho’s actions post-el Clasico have gone too far by Arron Duckling
FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: El Clasico Part 4 by Arron Duckling
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