Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Deluge Cometh


'With just two days to go, the anticipation for the world’s biggest game, El Clasico, couldn’t be higher. After both sides, FC Barcelona & Real Madrid have defeated their respective opponents (Shakhtar Donetsk & Tottenham Hotspurs) in the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League, Saturday’s match will be the first of four Clasico’s within the span of 18 days.

The exit of Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham Hotspurs means that not only will the UEFA Champions League semi-final be an all-Spanish affair, but two mouth-watering Clasico encounters over two legs in their battle for European supremacy.

One Clasico creates a media-frenzy; now imagine four within a couple of weeks. Furthermore, these Clasico’s have a direct impact on all three competitions (La Liga, the Copa del Rey & the Champions League).

The Merengue head into Saturday’s La Liga clash with an eight-point deficit against their eternal rivals, FC Barcelona. Neither a draw nor defeat is an acceptable result if Real Madrid is to end the Blaugrana’s stranglehold on the Primera Division.

Having witnessed FC Barcelona accumulating the treble just two years ago, the Spanish capital club is just as motivated as any side to match this achievement.

Nevertheless, FC Barcelona own treble hopes are still very much alive. And although the Blaugrana have to travel to the most hostile of environments, the Santiago Bernabeu, they presumably hold the psychological advantage over their archrivals, having won all their encounters since Pep Guardiola’s appointment.

In Jose Mourinho, however, Pep Guardiola & FC Barcelona will have to face one the finest managers, some even go as far and champion the self-proclaimed "Special One" the greatest manager of them all.

Since this year is almost devoid of major football tournaments bar the Copa America, the Clasico’s and the UEFA Champions League final can be considered THE highlights of 2011.'