I cannot find the right words for a post-match review; it might as well not be called a match, but actually a show, a carnival of the best team in the world; of players enjoying themselves on the football field. Yes, it is that simple! Eleven players went on the field to play football in one of the biggest European matches, El Clasico.
The date is without a doubt historical. For the historical 2-6 on May 2, 2009 was not enough for the Madridistas to admit that Barcelona was one of the best teams in the world.
On Monday night, November 29, 2010, at the Camp Nou stadium, FC Barcelona showed the world what football, team work, skills, art, genius, tactics, motivation and passion are during 90 minutes of hard-core football. Madrid players were trying.
Before the match, all sorts of comparisons and analyses were made including comparisons between Guardiola/Mourinho, Messi/Ronaldo, Barca’s midfield/Madrid’s midfield, and above all Barca/Madrid.
Do the comparisons stand after that match? It is advisable to re-watch it if the answer was yes.
While Mourinho kept on complicating things for himself and his players, there was Guardiola dealing with each game in itself trying to simplify things and face all the problems instead of ignoring them.
The tactical genius, Mourniho, was confident about his team’s midfield playing football, for the first time against Barcelona, instead of parking-the-bus and the result, however, was slightly disappointing. He might as well now have a dilemma about whether his team should adopt an offensive strategy or a defensive one in the 2nd leg game.
Guardiola, on paper had a routine strategy with a predictable line-up. However, on the field things were much more different. The defense was tighter as the whole team pushed on Madrid players forcing their midfield to lose the ball really fast. The total-football philosophy was perfectly applied, except for a couple of defensive slips that resulted in dangerous counter-attacks for Real Madrid. The whole Barcelona team was actually playing like a whole unit: tight on the defense and stretched on the offense.
The off-match show was Mourinho’s, but the actual match show was Guardiola’s.
To score is one thing, to play but not score is another; to be ineffective during the whole game is yet another thing.
Messi did not score against Madrid having sacrificed a record of scoring in 10 consecutive matches (9 with Barcelona and 1 with Argentina); nevertheless, he was crucial during the game as he assisted Villa. Twice!
Ronaldo, however, as in last season’s two games against Barcelona, found himself helpless against a strong central defense: Pique and Puyol. Except for two free-kicks, Ronaldo was not able to find any space available to play his game!
The result was thus humiliating to the royal team with five goals to nil. The maestro Xavi scored the opening goal 10 minutes after the game kicked-off. The carnival never ceased to end as goals were scored and chances wasted. Pedro scored the second, Villa the third and fourth goals, while Jeffren closed the curtains with a great finish four minutes after he was substituted in for Pedro.
Valdes was also a crucial factor in the game as he saved his goal twice superbly early in the game leaving Los Blancos without a chance of seeing the light.
Madrid players, on the other hand, were not able to handle the loss. The tension overwhelmed them to the point where they started knocking down Barcelona players, one after the other, thus seven players from Real Madrid were shown the yellow card, while Ramos was later shown the red card for a harsh tackle on Messi and a punch on Puyol’s face.
The show was absolutely stunning! The ball was kept on the move between Barcelona players as they tickled it one after the other forming a great piece of football art with 67% ball possession!
“I’m sorry, but we will be celebrating this victory,” said Guardiola in the post-match press conference. Likewise, Pique’s hand for the five goals scored will always be remembered; and as Xavi said, “winning against Madrid is like having an orgasm.” Nevertheless, the league is still far from being decided yet and winning against Madrid only signifies another three points as the Blaugrana rank at the top of the table two points ahead of Los Blancos. However, this victory only shows the results of a Barcelona project that is being built year after year which focuses on youth, total-football and hard work, while the Madrid project, whether with Mourinho or not, seems to be far from being a success.
Barcelona won five to nil? Yes, and the Madrid loss is far more serious than just another game lost.
The genius of football transcending beyond a mere game score to a harmonious piece of a beautiful play and a carnival of goals: Welcome to the Barcelona show, everyone!