With the Clasico only days away, football fans around the world have already started talking about the most anticipated clash in modern day football and it seems that this time, Real Madrid do have the edge over their archrivals FC Barcelona. At least on paper, that is.
Zinedine Zidane’s side has made a positive start to the season in spite of quite a number of injury concerns to first team players in the likes of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Gareth Bale. The December 3 clash at the Nou Camp will be the first of at least two Clasicosin the season and a win away from home will see them comfortable be in contention to claim the La Liga title for the first time since 2013.
Madrid’s last league clash before the Clasico saw them face Sporting Gijon and coming out 2-1 victorious courtesy a CristianoRonaldo brace. In spite of the win, Zidane’s side did seem a lacklustre team especially in the second half and was on the verge of dropping points with occasional displays of sloppy defensive play. Centre-half Sergio Ramos, who was already on a yellow card was quickly substituted by the Frenchman in order to preserve him for the Clasico and the Madrid defence tended to fall apart quite a few times after the Spaniard went off. Nevertheless, the net result for Los Blancos was more or less positive as arch rivals Barcelona slumped to a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad. The Catalan’s poor run of form seems to be getting extended as they failed to capitalise to an excellent beginning to the season under Luis Enrique. The five-timeEuropean champions were even rendered lucky as a lack of goal-line technology in the Spanish League led to a clear Real Sociedad goal not given even though the ball had clearly crossed the line and a further incorrect decision by the referee kept the score at par, helping them snatch a point in the game. the Matchday 13 results saw Madrid retain their top position in the league table with Barca six points behind them. There must have been a huge sigh if relief for the Madrid manager as a loss at the Nou Camp would still mean that Los Blancos stays on top.
However, the Frenchman will definitely not go into the match without the target of winning and neither will his team. Real Madrid’s Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have finally found his footing netting five goals in his last two league games against Gijon and Atletico Madrid.With his tally of ten league goals in 2016/17, the No. 7 is now the division’s outright top goalscorer, having inched ahead of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, both still on eight. The former Manchester United man was the difference in Madrid’s last trip to the Nou Camp scoring an excellent volley to seal a 2-1 win for his team. On top of that, the Euro 2016 winning captain will definitely be fueled up to face his critics at the Nou Camp, a stadium which is known for jeering the Portuguese like no other in the world.
Real Madrid against Barcelona has always promised us a huge deal of action spanning 90 minutes of high-tension football and there is not a doubt in the fact that the clash which will take place next week will be any different. What we have come to learn about football is that no matter how good a teams form is, the important matches always have an equal chance of going either way and when the match in question is the ‘El Clasico’, anything can happen. Period.