As I’m sure you know by now, Barcelona won 8-0 at the weekend against UD Almeria. Messi grabbed a hat-trick, Bojan a brace while Pedro and Iniesta scored one apiece, sandwiched in between an own goal. The final result equalled Barcelona’s biggest ever away win in La Liga and many people have gone on about what a brilliant performance it was.
Ronaldo however, has taken a different standpoint:
"Their 8-0 win doesn’t tell me anything. Let’s see if they score against us on Monday."
Now this quote from Ronaldo annoyed me to the point where I decided to write this article in response.
Firstly, the 8-0 win was lucky for Almeria. Why, you may ask? Well, I believe that Barcelona didn’t even play that well. Don’t get me wrong, they were certainly better than Almeria by some distance, but it was not their best performance of the season. Against Sevilla, Barca won 5-0 and, in my opinion, played much better. The Blaugrana beat Villarreal 3-1 and displayed a more cohesive performance. In Bilbao, even with an appalling pitch to play on, Barca compensated the loss of Messi to defeat the Basque club 3-1. No prizes for guessing that I think Barca played better then as well.
My point is, Barcelona only played as well as they had to. Almeria were beyond awful and rarely attempted to tackle the Barcelona players or even apply any kind of pressure! Barcelona played their own game and didn’t have to break a sweat to charge into that 5-0 half-time lead. In the second half, both Xavi and Iniesta were taken off, partly so they could rest and maybe so the humiliation of Guardiola’s good friend Juan Manuel Lillo wouldn’t become so painful. To a degree it did.
The Blaugrana players took their foot off the gas and coasted through the second half where they scored three more goals, because Almeria still did not pressure them. So Ronaldo, what you could learn there is that you step off Barcelona at your own peril. Hell, if you give the centre back of the B team time to make a pass, he will punish you!
Now the second part of his quote was more agitating to me than the first, and here’s why.
Ronaldo seems to think he is clever by trying to belittle Barcelona’s win by saying, "Let’s see if they score 8 against us on Monday week." It’s obvious that Barcelona are not going to score eight against Real, nor will any other team. However, because he has made that remark, it leads me to believe that he actually thinks someone expects just that. I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong, but no-one believes that.
On the other hand, what I do believe is that Barcelona will play much better. There is no way they will score eight, but given the form of the team in this seasons "big games", it’s almost definite they will play better. This is what Ronaldo should fear. The 8-0 win was good, but performance wise, was just the tip of the iceberg.
Come Monday, 29th and he will witness that first hand.