There have been some very one sided clashes between Barcelona and Real Madrid down the years, but the match the Spanish call El Clasico is more often than not a hard fought and close contest. Because of this, the fierce rivalry between the two clubs and the fact that the result is usually crucial to the outcome of a season or the winner of a trophy, the referee has to be strong and good at his job.
Because FC Barcelona have started this season at breakneck speed, putting the disappointment of the latter end of last season behind them, it is difficult to get any sort of decent odds on them to win games, even when it comes to playing the big spending giants of Spanish football Real Madrid.
Planning the perfect trip to Spain’s El Clásico 2013 by Adam
The most intense rivalry in Spanish football continues this month with Real Madrid travelling to do battle with Barcelona at the Nou Camp on 26 October and hoping to draw first blood in the race for the la Liga title. With temperatures averaging in the high 20s in October, the first El Clásico of the season falls at an ideal time for those looking to get away for a city break in the Catalan capital.
There have been quite a few critics of FC Barcelona already this season, despite the fact that the club has been forced to appoint a new manager for the third time in three seasons. Also, Tata Martino was brought in to freshen things up a bit and tweak the system to avoid the problems of the latter part of last season.
The criticism seems even harsher when you realise that a Barca victory over Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou tonight would equal the record start to La Liga of six wins in a row. History and current form point to that happening, even though Sociedad had a great season last time which got them into the Champions League.
After surviving a real scare in the Champions League, the Barcelona players are looking forward to having the coach Tito Vilanova back in charge for the quarter-final stage. There has been speculation that the team have missed the coach and his absence was part of the reason for the poor recent form.
It was bound to have an effect, and the players are relieved as much as happy that they were able to produce a fantastic comeback against AC Milan. In La Liga, Tito’s absence has not really been a big factor, because the players know their opposition well and have been like a runaway train, but the European games are different, as are Clasico encounters with Real Madrid.
Barcelona are already 16 points ahead of their great rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Primera Liga. Even with 12 games left after tomorrow’s Clasico, there is very little chance of Barcelona losing the Spanish title this season. Jordi Roura and his players will be desperate for a good result at the Bernabeu, though, to banish the painful memories of the recent defeats by Madrid and AC Milan.
Games between Barcelona and Real Madrid are always highly charged affairs, and tonight’s encounter at the Camp Nou is likely to be no different. With a place in the final of the Spanish cup at stake, and the tie precariously balanced at 1-1 from the Bernabeu, the outcome is hugely important. The referee will have a tough job tonight, and his performance could have a big impact on the outcome, but the stand in coach of Barca, Jordi Roura, is not convinced that the man selected is up to the job.
Eric Abidal has not played for Barcelona since early last year, and for a while it looked like he never would again. The French international had already recovered from surgery to remove a tumour on his liver and he came back to help his team win the Champions league against Manchester United. When the cancer returned and he had to have a liver transplant, donated by his cousin, many people thought he would be lucky to live a vaguely normal life, nevermind play football at the top level.