Friday, April 03, 2020
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On the surface it looks to be the most mismatched ‘El Classico’ in a long while. In spite of La Liga triumphs in the past two years, tonight Real Madrid take on a Barcelona side that has been frighteningly destructive this season. 

 

Things are looking particularly bad for Madrid. The beginning of the week saw the departure of their manager, Bernd Schuster. After a string of bad performances the final straw came when he said it would be ‘impossible’ for his side to beat the Catalans at the Nou Camp.

 

Stepping in to replace the downbeat German was Juande Ramos. The Spaniard's appointment seems questionable to anyone mildly familiar with the Premier League. When you look at his performance as Tottenham manager there are no two ways about it: the guy did a very bad job. After 12 games this season his expensively assembled side was a lot worse-off than some other pretty bad teams. 

 

The fact that he has been given the gig at the Bernabau makes you to think twice and try to reassess Ramos’s reign. “Maybe he actually wasn’t that bad,” you muse, trying to remember the good times.  

 

It’s like dumping a girlfriend only to see her with walking down the street with a muscle bound hunk a few days later – you can’t help but question whether you made the right decision. “What does he see in her? Did I miss something?” 

 

But alas, you realise you were thinking straight after all. It turns out the muscle bound hunk gets around a lot and has pretty low standards. Ramos really wasn’t any good and he’s reaffirmed that by earmarking potential transfer targets.  

 

Who is it that Ramos reportedly believes are the players to turn around the flagging fortunes of the nine times European Cup winners? They are Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Middlesborough’s Adam Johnsson 

 

You were right to dump her after all – she was a real minger.   

 

Conversely, whilst these are woe begotten times in the Spanish capital, Barcelona are riding the crest of an enviable wave. Pep Guardiola has re-instilled the verve that was there before Frank Rijkaard’s regime became stagnant, and so far during his short tenure he has transformed the Catalans into the most intimidating prospect in club football. 

 

The stats speak for themselves: 43 goals in a run of 12 unbeaten games, and a brand of expansive attacking football that can only be praised for its ethos and execution. 

 

Messi has been fully-fit and his brilliance has wholly eclipsed Balon d’Or winner Ronaldo so far this season. Eto’o is back to his net-busting best, and for the first time Thierry Henry is coming close to his Arsenal form 

 

Coupled with the magnificent support provided from midfield by Xavi and Andres Iniesta, the foraging runs from deep of summer signing Daniel Aalves and Seydou Keita, and Barcelona are at present an irresistible attacking force. 

 

Sunday’s game should, in theory, be a walk in the park for Barcelona against a  Real Madrid side short of form and confidence. Ironically, Madrid could probably do with a couple of Galacticos from whom a moment or two of individual brilliance could win them the game. Unfortunately for them it is now Barcelona’s side that is laden with the greatest individual talents. Ones that combine hard work and discipline with ability. Although Schuster’s outburst helped him get the sack, his assessment of his side’s chances was spot on.

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