"Football, bloody hell!"
El Clásico: the eternal ‘match of the century’, a game of feelings
The most decisive match of the year, much more than 3 points are at stake, the whole world watching 22 men fighting on the ground, and so on…Many clichés and trivialities surround this beautiful football game which involves a long-time rivalry prompted by social, politic and of course sporting subjects.
Yet, we should point out one of those phrases we hear over and over during the previous week – “no matter whether they are in or off form, when the times comes no one knows what will happen”. Or paraphrasing Cristiano Ronaldo’s words, “it doesn’t really matter who will play the match”.
THE SURPRISE FACTOR
December 13th, 2008.
Barcelona beat Real Madrid (2-0, goals by Eto’o and Messi) five days after Bernd Schuster got the sack from his job at the Bernabéu stadium. The German manager told the media that it was “impossible to win the derby against Barcelona”, in the press conference after losing to Sevilla 3-4 at home. He was immediately fired, as Juande Ramos took the charge and ended up losing in the most important game of the year, as his predecessor had foretold.
We could say that was the first time in many years where we could see a final result which met the previous expectations. Mostly, the surprise factor plays an important role in these kind of matches – it did in the famous 3-3 tie, when Messi began to be recognized as one of the best players of the world thanks to his three goals, or in the last chorreo* (2-6), when Barça took the first step to achieve their famous treble.
Today, we can see many fans all around the world predicting a blaugrana victory – even some of them dare to say that Guardiola’s guys will play their opponents off the pitch by scoring three, four or even five goals. Apart of these typical and inevitable predictions, everyone agrees that the Catalan giants are the favourite ones to get the points.
January 7th, 1995.
The Spanish derby experienced one of their most historic episodes. One year after Barcelona (still with Johan Cruyff on the bench) humiliated the merengues by beating them 5-0, Real Madrid paid them back by scoring the same result – the manita, a famous word in the Spanish football scene, was enough revenge for Jorge Valdano’s team.
Some years after that game, the Argentinian manager himself gave us one of the most well-known quotes in the football history:
“Football is like a frame of mind”. **
* Chorreo: Sid Lowe (The Guardian’s La Liga expert) defined the verb chorrear as “roughly, dick on them, take the piss out of them”.
** “El fútbol es un estado de ánimo” – it all depends on the current mood in the kick-off.
Original cover image.