Posts Tagged ‘El Clasico’

The Clasicos and its implication for “The Special One”

Florentino Perez paid millions to terminate Jose Mourinho’s Internazionale’s contract and acquire his services for Real Madrid last June with targets set for him to achieve. One of his major task was to help conquer Barcelona’s dominance in Spain and restore Real’s lost european pride. The first of his two primary task might not be achieved this season but he’s on course for the second.

Casting our minds back to November 29,2010 when Los Blancos visited the Camp Nou for a league fixture against their arch rival and got thrashed by an efficient and excellent Barcelona side five nil. It was Real Madrid’s biggest lost at the Camp Nou since Faria Romario’s hat-trick in January 1994 helped  Los Culés to a similar comfortable five nil victory. The special one admitted after the match,

I’ve never lost 5-0 before. It was a very deserved win and deserved loss so it’s easy to digest. It’s a punishment for a team that played very badly“.

His team have moved on after the loss and are now faced with four clasico games in the space of 18 days starting with the second leg of the league match this weekend at the Santiago Bernabeu.The Copa del Rey final in Valencia four days later is the second match in the four games series. The home and away semi final games of the UEFA Champions’ League complete the soccer fest.

We all know the rivalry between the two richest and most successful clubs in Spain and in some quarters, a political angle is induced in it with Barcelona representing the Catalan nationalism and Real Madrid representing Spanish nationalism. For the socios of both clubs, El Clasico is more than a football contest for either side.

Yes, he needs to do a lot of thinking to overcome Barcelona

Over the years, managers who lose El clasico matches most likely find themselves in the labor market in no time. Frank Rijkaard for Barcelona and Vanderlei Luxemburgo for Real Madrid have been casualties in recent times. So, it is indeed crunch time for The Special One – Winning all four matches against Barcelona may not be impossible for Real Madrid but he (Jose) would also realize that he doesn’t need to win all to achieve his aim.

According to Mourinho, only mathematicians still believe that Real Madrid can win the La Liga, so I don’t expect Los Galaticos to go all out in the league game. I feel a draw looks to be on the card here.
Switching over to Valencia (venue of the Copa del Rey final), a victory in the final will help soothe a lot of pain inflicted last November by Barcelona with the club picking its first silverware in three years. Real Madrid will crave more for Copa glory, a trophy that has eluded the capital club since 1993.
As per the Champions league, with the prospect of Wembley final at stake, Jose will have to fashion out the best strategy to conquer his opponents in the two legged affair. I have come up with two options for him.

  1. A win at home and a draw away will take his side through.
  2. With the European away goal rule, a scoreless draw at the Bernabeu and a score draw at the Camp Nou can do the REAL magic. The possibility of the latter option happening is relatively low with Madrid not renowned for being resolute when it comes to defending.

To achieve any of the above points, the team has to play a lot better than they played back in November. The quality of the squad is not in doubt, the quality of the manager is also not in doubt. Motivation to win should also not be an issue. The game being what it is should be enough motivation. Jose Mourinho is also known to bring the best out of his players. Lets not also forget the 5-0 loss, that should also act as a source of motivation for the Galacticos.

Certainly, Jose Mourinho has a lot to worry about. The El clasico games coming up are more of defining moments for Real Madrid’s season rather than a revenge mission.  Failure to achieve the desired results may have a huge impact on his future as the head coach of the nine times European champions.