Photo Credit : goal.com
By Chima Azu
When it comes to big football matches it doesn’t get any bigger when these two football power houses clash. Both teams meet again on Sunday for the 247th time at the Camp Nou to renew their rivalry but this game has obviously lost the buzz it used to have especially after Messi left for PSG. After the departure of Ronaldo to Juventus the El Clasico still had huge amount of followers because Messi was still at Barca, but after the Argentine moved to France the interest for the Clasico has dropped slightly.
The host are in 8th position on the table while Madrid are 3rd, both sides still have a game in hand (Barcelona vs Sevilla and Madrid vs Athletico Bilbao). Madrid will be full of confidence after their 5:0 demolition away to Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League, while Barca struggled to defeat Dynamo Kyiv by a goal to nil at home. In the last 5 Clasicos Barca have only managed a win and a draw while Madrid won all three. Ancelloti’s men are clear favorites for this one as they are yet to lose at the Nou Camp for over two seasons and also look the better side in terms of current form.
Today’s game would definitely not be like what the football world were used to especially with the array of stars that graced the occasion in the past. Few years ago we had the BBC (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano) whilst Barca had the MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar), with those players on the team list we were sure of a footballing spectacle. Also, we were used to watching Xavi, Iniesta, Ronaldinho, Alonso, Zidane, Ronaldo Delima, Ramos, Puyol just to mention a few but this current Clasico lacks those kind of stars with all due respect to the likes of Deepay and Benzema (who is in the form of his life right now).
This is a game that has given us some unforgettable moments like the Catalans 5:0 rout against Mourinho’s Madrid in 2010, Barca’s 6:2 win in 2009 at the Bernabeu where Ronaldinho stole the show and got a standing ovation from the Madrid fans. Also, not to forget Madrid’s 4:1 win in 2008, Barca formed a guard of honour before the game after Madrid had won the league and still lost scandalously. These and many more were memorable moments that gives you that nostalgia feeling.
However, one should not right off today’s game because there are still some players that can turn the game on it’s head with their quality. Ansu Fati has been a joy to watch ever since he burst into Barca’s first XI, he is definitely a player to watch out for. Vinicius has also held is own looking at his fine displays recently by getting the goals for his side unlike what we use to know him for when he first arrived Madrid and didn’t know his way around the box eighteen. Football fans needs to keep their fingers crossed and hope that today’s game will live up to expectation but should not be surprised if it doesn’t end up being the usual classical Clasicos the football world was accustomed to.