El Clasico 08/09: Real Madrid - FC Barcelona: 2 - 6


If Carlsberg did forum members
I want to see how Madrid play. What are they going to do. If they attack we will make them pay on the counter if they defend we will break through.

Cule Angles

Visca el filòsof!
They're going to sit back and kick the shit out of our players just like they did in December whilst hoping for a goal on the counter down Alves' flank or from a set piece.


The Observer
Real Madrid v FC Barcelona Preview

As the La Liga season reaches its climax, and with just four points separating league leaders FC Barcelona from second placed Real Madrid – the big showdown at the Bernabeu on Saturday could be decisive. It promises to be a thrilling encounter and as I compare and contrast either sides relative merits, it`s worth bearing in mind that the best team does not always win…


Real Madrid`s commitment is something that is often taken for granted. Their faith in themselves allows them to win games with 10 men or even when they are losing with two minutes to go, like they were against Getafe. Gonzalo Higuain and Raul have become the big names in important games. You can see how Higuain is the perfect heir to Raul`s throne: not a 10 out of 10 in anything, but able to exploit his ability to the maximum potential.

Real have faith in a system that divides them into two with six defending and four attacking. That system has given them this season`s amazing stats: a record eight consecutive away victories and 52 out of 54 points since defeat in the last match against Barcelona.

I think Iniesta is the best player in the world at the moment. It is time to say it and not be ashamed about it.

Barcelona have got what will soon become the most prolific attacking trio in the history of La Liga. Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto`o and Thierry Henry are just one goal away from the total scored by Real Madrid`s Luis Del Sol, Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo di Stefano in the 1960-61 season. Henry (happy to come off the bench and score as he did against Valencia ), Messi and Eto`o are this good because the team trusts them - and the team trusts them because of how hard they work when they don`t have the ball.

Barca`s possession game allows them to defend and attack effectively, and nobody has worked out how to beat them (the Espanyol and Atletico Madrid defeats had an element of fluke about them). If you defend with nine they will happily keep the ball until they find the cracks in the opposition defence. And if you pressurise them everywhere, they have quality, even at the back, to pass the ball around you.


Barcelona`s demanding calendar means they might be mentally tired, and that can lead to mistakes. They seemed unable to maintain a high tempo for the entire 90 minutes against Valencia as they have done so far, and that is only logical. In that game they kept the ball for too long in some stages: proof that the team doesn`t feel strong enough to run into spaces and keep moving as quickly and dynamically as they were earlier in the season. Pep Guardiola has also taken the decision to rotate the team less in these final key games. They are still strong, but now they are playing three high-pressure games in a week, they might suffer.

On the other hand, Real Madrid finish games stronger than they start them and that is down to having played a game a week since January. Credit must also go to the magnificent work of Marcos Alvarez, the physical trainer who has given Raul, for instance, a second youth.


Yaya Toure is now happy to pass the ball and to keep it - and he doesn`t lose his position very often anymore. His physical presence is essential in defending set pieces and his defensive midfield role is key.

Marcelo has won the confidence of the manager, and in exchange he has grown in stature. He is finally happy to play on the left of midfield, but even when he is at full-back he appears in offensive positions, making Madrid unpredictable and dangerous.


Iniesta is the best player in the world. Absolutely. And I`ll stand by that statement until the end of the season. If he was Brazilian we would all be saying it. He can assist (three times against Sevilla) and he scores goals now as well. He is the leader on and off the pitch, and he acheives that through the work he puts in on the pitch. He told me last season that Barcelona was close to a circus, not a football team. He smells when things away from football take charge of the changing room and he feels allergic to it. He deserves to be next to Messi and maybe Ronaldo as player of the year at the end of 2009.

Raul scored the third league hat-trick of his career at the weekend, and it came when the team needed it most. He had not scored against Sevilla in a decade but appeared to reward the good football that Real Madrid were producing. He has scored 18 league goals, one less than David Villa if you don`t count the Valencia striker`s penalties. This week he was also the perfect captain by telling off both Marcelo (for ugly gestures to Getafe players) and Pepe (for losing his head in the same game).


In these games, the best team doesn`t always win. It is true that Barcelona have matched Real in commitment and faith in their possibilities, and also in hunger for titles. Both teams work as units and it is clear Barcelona play the better football. Without Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder or Pepe, Real are inferior man by man, but logic goes out of the window in these games. I favour Real Madrid as Barcelona have got this game sandwiched between the two Champions League matches against Chelsea.

It is a little bit of a miracle that Real Madrid find themselves in this position.

After all, this season their chairman was replaced following their worst institutional crisis ever; they swapped managers; they swapped goalscorers (Huntelaar only arrived in January and they lost Van Nistelrooy through injury); they swapped central midfield players (Mahamadou Diarra got injured, Lass arrived); and they are up against the best Barcelona side in history (something that, in a typical Catalan attitude, is making Barcelona fans fear the worst).

The faith that Real have in themselves has been growing in the last few weeks, even when their best players have been missing or when they have been almost written off: something that has never been truer than right now...


New member
Nice preview Beast. You wrote that all by yourself? I enjoyed it. It's funny to see a madridista considering Iniesta the best player in the world :cool:


The Observer
no its Balague preview not mine.. i just thought it well written & deserved to be shared..

and yes i already consider Iniesta to be the best in the world (see Iniesta Topic in players section ) ATM ..
I'm not going to deny something i believe simply because he play for our rivals.. i'm


New member
I know some culés who believe Iniesta's the best player in the world and it's a concept that's growing on me.

well there were many who said this before..But there were some who said there were atleast 5-6 ahead of him :lol:For me he is the best..As it was written in some article where Pep said " Xavi will retire me..Iniesta will retire us both"


New member
If not the best then definitely our most consistent performer. He and Xavi will have a rerun of CL match. (Essien+Mikel, now Lass+Gago)
I pray they are fit enough to cope with the Real Madrid DM pair


Senior Member
Iniesta: "We’ll go to Madrid to win” (fcbarcelona.com)


"We will go to the Bernabéu for a win. If there’s one aspect that has characterized Barça this season it’s that wherever we play we always keep the same style: attacking, looking to win the match and playing attractive and efficient football. We’ll go to win the match because as I said before a victory there will clear the path to the title”.

What’s the key to the match against Real Madrid?

"The key is to keep on being ourselves and try and do things well. These matches are different from all the rest. Everyone’s hanging on them, emotions are heightened. A match of these characteristics is different because of everything that surrounds it, the way people experience it. But we mustn’t forget that it’s just three points at stake that we have to fight for”.

Would a win on Saturday be an injection of morale ahead of the match in London?

"There’s only one reality: whatever happens in the Bernabéu, we’ll continue as leaders. But what’s clear is that a victory would help us to focus on Wednesday’s match against Chelsea, a match that’s life or death for us”.

Is Barça the favourite on Saturday?

There are no favourites. It’s very difficult. There have already been cases where the team that is worse going into the match ends up winning it. It’s such a different match that statistics and form don’t count”.


New member
I still think Messi is the better player of the two although it is getting closer and closer. Iniesta is definitely in much better form at the moment however.

I would love to win this game, but I think a draw will still be a huge step towards the title.


I walk the line
First time ive really gone into this topic. Im too nervous to even think about the game until kick off. Just wanna get it over and done with! Im not nervous because i think we'll lose...of course there is the possibility of that..but its more the anticipation of the importance of the game for both teams' seasons.

I agree conor..a draw would be much better for us than madrid. Can madrid get 5 more points than us in the last 5 games? Its manageable, but the odds will be in our favour.


Senior Member
I'm not even thinking about a draw....ok its true that they are the in form team in primera with how many wins on the trot (i cant remember)...but we have been playing well and even though the lead is now down to just 4 we can beat them and end their title hopes for sure....i'm tired of hearing their little rants about catching us...its beginning to get irritating...especially headlines on marca and other websites..the sooner we kill their hopes the better.


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