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A good friend of mine recently posted his thoughts on Facebook with respect to the December 10, 2011 match between Real Madrid and Barcelona (aka El Clasico).  Boy are they bang on…

Random El Clasico thoughts:
1. Messi always delivers against madrid
2. How ever good messi plays against madrid, is usually how bad ronaldo plays against barca
3. I miss when kaka used to be a relevant footballer
4. Sergio ramos is a maniac
5. If madrid has no answer for iniesta, no one does, just amazing

1. The reason Messi has become the best player in the world is because he performs extremely well in big games and in high-pressure situations.  Not only has Messi stepped up to the occasion against Real Madrid, he’s also done so in the most important games (i.e. Champions league final).  Some may argue that he doesn’t perform as well for his country, but I disagree…and strongly.  He may not score the same number of goals for Argentina as he does for Barcelona, but watch him play and appreciate the influence he has on the game.  This is a topic for another day, though.

2. His counter-part, Cristiano Ronaldo, doesn’t seem to perform well in big games.  It’s almost as if he fades away into the background.  Having watched him play numersous times in important games, it’s almost as if he becomes a victim of his mind.  He tries too much, becomes too hard on himself and ultimately forces himself into an ineffective performance.

3. In 2007, at the age of 25, Kaka was the world FIFA player of the year.  Fast forward 4 years and he’s invisible.  It’s been a slow and painful regression for Kaka.  In 2007 when he was with AC Milan, he was on top of the world.  His club was performing extremely well and he was at the head of this unstoppable machine.  He would rip through defenders, and even teams at times, like they were pylons.  He then decided to take his talents to South Beach…I mean Real Madrid.  And then the decline began.  He seemed to find himself in the shadow of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas.  Unable to make a difference, he fell victim to injury.  Although his struggled with injuries, and conintues to struggle, he has fallen off the map and it’s unfortunate.

4.  Sergio Ramos IS a maniac.  If you have a few minutes, Youtube some of the tackles Ramos has made on Messi.  It’s disturbing, really.  There is clear intent to injure.  Sure he is considered one of the better right backs in soccer for multiple reasons, but in my eyes he is a reckless head-hunter who is playing soccer the wrong way.

5.  Iniesta, the Barcelona midfielder, basically did whatever he felt like doing.  Madrid had no answer for the short and quick nominee for player of the year.  He floated from the left side of the field to right and created confusion for many of the Madrid defenders.  Him and Xavi play so well off each other that it becomes impossible to guard.

All in all, the El Clasico confirmed that Barcelona are a far superior team to Madrid.  Not only did they win on the scoreboard, but they completely out played and outsmarted their opponents.  After Madrid scored an early goal, Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, saw that with 4 defenders there was too much pressure on them, so he decided to push his right winger (Dani Alves) up the wing and play a flat 3 at the back.  The difference it made was almost immediate.  Madrid seemed confused and overwhelmed.
To be honest, I’m almost sick of seeing Madrid and Barcelona dominate world football.  It’s very unlikely that we’ll ever get to see an underdog team win any relevant competition or even a league title.  On the flip-side, it’s also very unlikely that we’ll ever get to see two teams with the quality of these two clubs.


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