A little more than 24 hours and it’s on; the grandest of all football games, el Clasico. What has been billed as the biggest Clasico since, well…the last, will surely not disappoint. For a couple of hours the world will revolve around the clash of eternal rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But what should’ve become a subplot has become the headline of recent reports, the duel between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s hard to visit a major sports website without an in-depth analysis of the rivalry between those two.
The recent accomplishments of the Blaugrana – the trashing of UD Almeria as well as the qualification for the next round of the Champions League have somewhat faded into the background of Messi Vs. Ronaldo.
A friend of mine sent me a hilarious joke involving the two protagonists, well rather one protagonist and one very well despised antagonist in the form of Ronaldo.
In the El Grand Classico pre match conference, a reporter asks Ronaldo as a footballer what do you bring to the sport as a whole. Ronaldo responds, "God sent me to earth to show the world how football is meant to be played". Later in the conference as Messi sits alongside Guardiola, the same reporter asks Messi what's his opinion on ronaldo's comment. Messi replies, "I didn't send anyone!"
It’ll be interesting to see whether the man dubbed CR7 can break his duck against the Blaugrana. In five previous attempts he found the net exactly…don’t bother waiting – NEVER. He did however miss a penalty in the 2008 Champions League semi-final whilst on the books of Manchester United.
La Pulga on the other hand absolutely loves to torment Ilker Casillas, arguably the best keeper in the world (which I am not entirely buying, since I believe Valdes is at least on par with him and there’s the Italian who goes by the name of Gianluca Buffon). In eight encounters against the Merengues he scored an astonishing seven goals. Not bad if you consider he’s just 23 years old.
Nevertheless, Lionel Messi seems to have difficulties to score against a Mourinho managed team as he has failed to find the net against Chelsea and Inter Milan. More interesting though is the record between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho which stands at 2-1-1.
For once I don’t believe that the (supposed) special one will embark on a camping trip in the Camp Nou. Real Madrid are a different beast than Inter Milan and "park the bus"-tactics are usually not associated with the club from the Spanish capital. Still, stranger things have happened in the past. What I am assured of is the extremely hostile reception Jose Mourinho will receive in the stadium of his former employer.
In any case, I believe it will be a very intense match with lots of controversy on and off the field. Who knows maybe Jose Mourinho invents another form of time-wasting or sending-off method? Unfortunately, some of us will not be able to watch the game tomorrow; yeah I’m one of them! I will probably go into isolation mode and stay away from all media known to mankind. Whoever dares to tell me the score before I sit in front of a TV is seriously endangering his/her well-being :p
Anyways, I am super-confident that we will be victorious and defeat Real Madrid.
Messi vs Real Madrid 02.05.2009
Have a good one Blaugranes!
P.S. we do have a Facebook page now!