The match we’re all waiting for will take place on Saturday evening. No matter how early in the season we still stand or how much the outcome of the match affects league standings, there is always a very special taste to el clásico. Fans spend weeks in the buildup thinking about line-ups, keeping tabs on the progress of injured players, picking up virtual fights between each other and it is one moment in particular that truly fires things up – the pre-match press conferences. Two tacticians, one dressed in deep blue and claret, the other in white, step up to their podiums – it is from that moment onwards that the clásico truly kicks off.
Dear Madrid, the tables have turned.
Sometimes I prefer the ‘underdog’ tag just because you get to see the disappointed look on the faces of those who doubted you, but being called ‘champion’ also has a nice ring to it. Last year, culés had to endure watching the men in white flaunt their long-awaited La Decima. FC Barcelona now arrive to Madrid with all of the bragging rights following a historic season that will surely be immortalized by the Camp Nou faithful. Despite the cries and the doubts, Barcelona are back in town to avenge the loss they suffered a year ago at the hands of the then European Champions.
As the countdown to the first clásico of the season shortens, totalBarça’s Aly Abdel Wahab took time out to go head-to-head with a Real Madrid fan for the Daily Mail website.
Read on for Aly’s views on which player he hates the most, which ones he fears, his most memorable clásico memories and more.
(Spoiler alert: Los blancos hate Piqué almost as much as he hates them and they’re still crying over la manita!)
Andrés talks el clásico
Andrés Iniesta spoke to the press ahead of the game against Real Madrid on Saturday and revealed that the clásico gets him fired up. “I love these types of matches because of what they involve and transmit. I hope they keep getting my juices flowing,” he said, before warning against underestimating Real Madrid: “Saying [they] are weaker would be foolish and that’s not what we think. They have so many qualities that can hurt us and with the match being at their ground, it’s even more important for every aspect of our game to be spot on.”
Iniesta then commented on a possible surprise return of Leo Messi, saying, “If he’s in the squad, it’ll be because he’s ready, whether it’s from the start or on the bench. If Leo starts the game, it will improve the team’s chances.”
He added that the Catalan side will need to dominate the game in order to get the three points. “If there’s one thing we must be clear about, it’s that we have to be ourselves, play our game, try to dominate possession and take the game to them as much as we possibly can,” he reminded fans.
THE TRIDENT RETURNS
Neymar, Luis and Messi will play together in the Bernabéu
Leo will pass a final medical test today and later, will talk to Luis Enrique
Iniesta: “El Clásico has me running like a motor.”
Cruyff: “I am going to win this battle.”
WITH A PAIR
Neymar’s numbers in La Liga outstrip Cristiano’s
Neymar scored in his first Clásico and has scored two goals in his four games against them
“I hope that I can still be better in tomorrow’s game. Compared with the derbies of Brazil, the ambience of Bernabéu does not worry me.”
Alves has 14 victories against the Madridistas
Iniesta: El Clásico has me running like a motor
Rafa works with a 4-4-2, without Benzema
LUIS ENRIQUE PREPARING FOR THE GAME RAFA PREPARING FOR THE GAME
“There is no set recovery date for Messi. The most important thing for him is to be 100 per cent fit again,” stated the Barça coach at a news conference just before the infamous Halloween incident.“It does not matter when he returns. The season is still long.”
Those were the words echoed by everyone around the Argentine, from Javier Mascherano’s “Patience man, no need to hurry” to Neymar and Luis Suárez’s recent show to push on the fact that Barça can take on Real Madrid Leo-less for the first time in over seven years.
Those claims were accompanied by a close source to the club stating that Leo’s recovery is taking longer than previously perceived, ruling out the man who made a career out of torturing the capital club till the first week of December. By then, culés began to make peace with that fact. Barça showed Messindependencia and eyes were on Munir and Sandro to see who would be granted the opportunity of a lifetime.
Only a few days remain before the 2015/16 season’s first clasico is underway. In anticipation of the clash, we are excited to be hosting a flash giveaway contest. The contest starts Friday at 12:01am CET and the entry window will close at 11:59am CET, during the clasico. The randomly drawn winner will earn themselves a totalBarça t-shirt and will be notified via their email address. Have fun and good luck. Visca!
Enter the contest after the jump.
It’s a question as deceptively simple in its form, as it is universally sentimental; it’s what cuts through the realms of both time and space, capable of bridging together generations, of forming an immediate understanding between complete strangers in the time it takes for the words to register, for neurons to fire.
When it comes to sports, it might as well be the question – the only one that matters.