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Real and Ronaldo show that Barca can be beaten

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Phil Minshull | 15:58 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

Did Real Madrid's victory over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey signal a shift in the balance of power between the Spanish giants?

Real are unbeaten in the first two of four back-to-back meetings in 18 days and their success on Wednesday will have fortified them for the two Champions League semi-final encounters to come.

We learned several things from Real's cup win. First and foremost, it showed Barcelona can be beaten.

After putting the brakes on Barca's six-game winning streak in El Clasico by drawing 1-1 at the Bernabeu on Saturday, although Mourinho suffered brickbats from friend and foe alike for his negative tactics, Real went one better by beating their arch rivals to secure their first Copa del Rey since 1993.

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With a nice bit of symmetry, their 18th Copa arrived 18 years after they last lifted the trophy. Cristiano Ronaldo headed the only goal of the game in the first half of extra time after Mourinho, partially reversing his policy of four days before, had chosen to put out an attacking side.

Full credit should go to Real for absorbing the onslaught that Barca launched in the second half and then coming out as the better team after 90 minutes had elapsed.

Real should now have eradicated the inferiority complex that seemed evident in recent years, whichever coach was at the helm, and can approach the Champions League ties with some optimism of progressing to the final at Wembley on 28 May.

On an individual level, Ronaldo deserves full marks. He not only scored the winner but also quietened many of his critics, including me, with a superb display for the entire 120 minutes.

Now when anyone talks about his previous tendency to disappear in big games, his defenders need only point to his performance on Wednesday night to suggest that is no longer the case.

For once, Ronaldo's head did not go down when things were not going in his favour.

Barca's back four did their best to upset him with niggling tackles but he rode them with aplomb and did not get drawn into pretty retribution. In a game with eight yellow cards, he stayed out of trouble.

His goal also took his season's tally in all competitions to 43, beating his record of 42 at Manchester United in 2007/8. That was the season he won the Golden Boot and was voted as Fifa World Player of the Year.

A headline in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca on Thursday read: "A dream night for Cristiano Ronaldo." It would be churlish to disagree with that statement.

His efforts have surely elevated him into the Real pantheon. He has equalled the 43 goals that Alfredo di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez respectively scored in the 1956-57 and 1989-90 seasons. Only Ferenc Puskas, with 49 goals in 1959-60, is now ahead of him in Real's record books.

To use a metaphor appropriate to the Wagnerian weather that engulfed Madrid as Real fans made their way to the Cibeles fountains to celebrate the victory, will Ronaldo show that lightning can strike twice or three times in the coming weeks?

The recent games between Real and Barcelona have also shown that Pepe is an accomplished defensive midfielder. Mourinho's search for someone to play that role could be over.

If there was another Real hero other than Ronaldo on Wednesday, it was Pepe. Mourinho had moved the Portuguese international from his usual position in the centre of the defence to good effect on Saturday and repeated the ploy four days later.

"We expected something like this," said Barca coach Pep Guardiola on Saturday night. "Pepe is strong player, very experienced and has been very difficult [to beat]. Seeing his qualities, we knew that he was going to play well so it didn't come as a surprise to us."

Pepe was also a constant menace up front, almost opening the scoring with a header that pinged off the woodwork just before half-time.

Adding to the Portuguese flavour of the team that Mourinho is starting to create in his own image, Ricardo Carvalho again provided a master class in astute defending.

Regardless of what happens in the Champions League, Real's success almost certainly means Mourinho will still be their coach at the start of next season.

And the final itself lifted the Copa out of its traditional slot as a sideshow to the battles for La Liga and the Champions League.

Early viewing figures showed that Wednesday night's match was the most watched domestic game between two Spanish club sides in history, attracting more than 14.1m viewers - an audience share of 73%.

Now the spotlight switches to the Champions League and it will be fascinating to see whether the Spanish public's appetite for El Clasico was sated or only whetted by the Copa del Rey.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done to real, as despite the enormous amounts of money spent they are clearly out gunned. Quite incredible any side is so feared that real madrid fields 7 defenders.

    Saying that, I fear this might cause barca to go through the gears for the semi final and if they hit top gear nothing real, or anyone else for that matter, can do will stop them.

    But again, well done madrid.

  • Comment number 4.

    "Did Real Madrid's victory over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey signal a shift in the balance of power between the Spanish giants?"

    No.

    They just won the competition Barca were least interested in. Watch out for the backlash in the Champions League, as Barca start to get players fit again.

  • Comment number 5.

    It was negative ffotball by Real. They were very defensive, it paid off by soaking the unslot and they captilize of counter breaks. It worked well. It is just like Arsenal. Barca wanted to walk the ball in the net. I dont blame them because Real packed the bus

  • Comment number 6.

    Please lets be serious - "Did Real Madrid's victory over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey signal a shift in the balance of power between the Spanish giants?"

    As said above - No.

    From the two league matches the results where 1-1 at the Bernabau and 5-0 at Camp Nou. Barcalona had a reasonably poor game, capped off by a couple of questionable refereeing decisions.

    But I suppose journalism is about creating a headline.

  • Comment number 7.

    I totally agree with Mr Chelsea. I'm getting kind of sick of Barcelona now. However technically brilliant they might be in the football they play, I find them quite tedious to watch as for quite a lot of the game they just pass it pointlessly between Pique, Xavi and whoever the other centre back happens to be - normally Puyol of course. When they do decide to go forward however, they are exhilarating! Nobody can deny that they are a fantastic team, and I think they would be the greatest team in footballing history if they replaced Sergio Busquets, who I personally think is the most overrated footballer in the game today. Why he starts for Spain ahead of Cesc Fabregas is totally beyond me! I honestly prefer watching Arsenal to Barcelona as they play similar styles but Arsenal are constantly on the attack and don't waste time with pointless passes like barcelona, although admittedly this does prove to be Arsenal's downfall, like at Tottenham last night.

    On the issue of Barcelona diving, I agree that some of their players go down far too theatrically - mainly Dani Alves and Busquets. Diving is something I really can't stand.

    And as for Real Madrid, they not only proved themselves as a quality team in the Copa final, but they also reaffirmed José Mourinho's place as one of the top managers of all time. I firmly believe that he, Fergie and Wenger (however unpopular they all may be) are all a cut above the rest in management, just as Messi and Ronaldo are in terms of players.

  • Comment number 8.

    Someone once wrote this "Other pundits feel that, with a nod from me to Monty Python, Mourinho is more of a naughty boy: a cheeky Portuguese chappy with a mischievous sense of humour and an inflated opinion of himself who will be inevitably brought down to earth by Barcelona and their coach Pep Guardiola". http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philminshull/2010/08/can_mourinho_make_a_difference.html I was hoping this person would be quietly sitting in a corner and gorging on humble pie, but alas......

  • Comment number 9.

    Ronaldo is so great because he can mix up the nitty gritty parts of the game with his natural flair and brilliance. That header last night was absolutely fantastic. Since he's moved to Madrid he's become an output machine and is less flashy. As effective.

  • Comment number 10.

    COME ON REAL!

  • Comment number 11.

    Saturday's game, well, Barca looked content with a draw. They never got out of first gear and cruised. Real on the other hand played with a lot more energy. Is that a good idea when you've got four games like that? Not really. By the fourth game Real are going to be shattered and Barca still with something in the tank.

    Are the tides turning? Why? Because Barca paced themselves? Real needed extra time to get a winner, and a very dodgy penalty to get Saturday's equaliser.

    You also have to remember which games matter most to Barca. There's no doubt that last night's game was more important to Real. Bear mind also that Puyol was missing last night, which makes a huge difference to Barca.

    I also thought Jose's critics only targeted his style of play? Last night being another example of anti-football, so I don't know what you're talking about with that.

    Can I just ask if these last two games will finally stop the very strange British hyperbole over David Villa. He is what he is, a good striker. Nothing more.

  • Comment number 12.

    I predicted this result last week and got slated for it. Players like Ronaldo, Di Maria and Adebayor will always blow tippy tappy nonsense to smithereens when it matters.

    Hate to say I told you so but... I told you so!

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't think this really signifies a shift in power in Spain. Real have not beaten Barcelona in the past 7 games before this so it was about time that run came to an end.

    Barcelona thumped Madrid 5-0 at home earlier in the season, or has everyone forgotten that? Class is permanent, form is temporary. Barcelona are without any doubt the best team in the world and I'm positive they will be back on top when the two meet in the CL next week.

  • Comment number 14.

    I seem to recall Arsenal beating Barca too. Indeed, if it wasn't for the usual help Barca get from referees when playing British clubs, Arsenal might well be the ones playing Real Madrid now.

  • Comment number 15.

    Every team can be defeated in one moment of brilliance and every trophy can be destroyed in one moment with egg on face!

  • Comment number 16.

    You can destroy solid metal simply by having an egg on your face? And in one moment? Thats surreal vandalism.

  • Comment number 17.

    The problem for Barca is the lack of depth in their squad - which is the exact opposite for real. And it tells when you consider all the games they play, especially this year reaching the copa final and CL semis and most of their players played in the world cup in the summer. When you look at Barca's options up front - Villa, Pedro, Messi and Bojan are the only ones who can be trusted consistently plus Bojan has been injured recently, so obviously they will get tired playing so many games and playing a high pressure pressing game too.

    If both real and barca played each other with fully fit teams, Barca would probably win 2-0 on average

  • Comment number 18.

    Mourinho did what Mourinho always does against Barca. Played a bank of 4 and a bank of 5, continual fouling, then hit Barca on the break. It worked last night and to be fair in the 1st half Real were the better team. However a stronger ref and Barca's disallowed goal being allowed to stand and the headline would have been very different. Personally I wouldn't go to the bottom of the garden to watch Mourinho's style of play, but each to their own. Cruyff had it right with what he said about him as far as I'm concerned. I think we're lucky to able to watch this Barca team every week. Hopefully we'll get to see them at Wembley.

  • Comment number 19.

    Real Madrid proved that Barcelona can be beaten. This, as I understand it, is the essence of Phil Minshull's blog. And, as far as I'm concerned, that was indeed the most important point to take out of yesterday's game.

    Anyone who thinks that the game meant little to Barcelona have no understanding of this current Barca team and even less understanding of the Real Madrid/Barcelona rivalry. Every game between these clubs carries the weight of expectation.

    Notwithstanding that the final at Wembley is a one game affair, where the chances of an underdog or an inferior team winning the trophy is still quite high, there are few in the football world who would bet against Barcelona. That said, the most likely to beat this extraordinary team is Real Madrid. It might not be a finished product for Mourinho - next year's team will be closer to that - but it has improved in each game against Barca this year, and in doing so has gained confidence.

    Mourinho solved the Barcelona problem last year with Inter Milan. I'd say he's pretty close at solving the problem this year with Real Madrid. He might be the champion of negative football, and his teams might present the antithesis of open, attractive football, but there's no question of their effectiveness.

  • Comment number 20.

    Haha did any one else see Ramos drop the cup under the wheels of the bus! Google it...

  • Comment number 21.

    Barcelona are over-hyped, best team ever and all that fluff. They play pretty, sure, but come back when they've created a dynasty of medals. The Milan team of the early 90's for one cream them on every level. Even Notts Forest won back to back European cups (but that was before Sky 'invented' football, so doubt few of you will remember).

    I like that Jose does them, in the CL Semi's last year and hopefully this year as well. Sure spank 150 passes a minute around, but 'screw the beautiful game...we win this one'. As per last night. And the next two games. Hopefully. :)

  • Comment number 22.

    shall i really comment on this, i mean really, alright than,

    to beat bacrelona it is very simple, defend and take your chance i will give you four good examples to beat barcelona liverpoll vs barcelona 2006 at nou camp, liverpool won 2-1 the scoreline flattered barcelona liverpool were all over them, chelea vs barcelona 4-3 just ronaldiniho's briliant did it, chelsea vs barcelona 2007 at nou camp 2-1 to chelsea, man utd vs barcelona 2009 1-0.

    ad lets not kid forget how much money real have spent more 300 million last two years, and yet they are not as valuable club as man utd

  • Comment number 23.

    The dream Wembley final for the media (and me) would be Real Madrid v Man Utd. It has Ronaldo against his old club, and Mourinho v. Ferguson. The Mourinho press conferences would be must-see TV.

  • Comment number 24.

    i dont know why i hate barcelona, at the moment they are and have been the best side for two years fact, but pople praise barceloan as they are unbeatbale team. that is funny how long has messi been playing for barcelona at the age of 17, xavi started 1998 inesta 2005 valdez pyoul long enough, so they are a bonded team.

    the cesc thing really pissed me off, im a man utd supporter,
    the players and the director commenting thingd like this
    xavi " he belongs here thats his home"
    pique" his one of us since he was 13"
    inesta" it is onl matter of time"
    director of barcelona" he has barcelona's dna"
    i measn seriously whyleave the kid alone, aresnal shouldve gone to fifa wiht a complaint, if people and readers have noticed they pay more money as salaries than anyone else, and they spent heavily too.
    last two years.
    ibra 59 million plus eto who was worth at that time at least 40 million
    villa 40 million
    mascreano 22 million
    and some player worth 22 million

  • Comment number 25.

    It's already been proven in the past that Barca can be beaten; Arsenal managed it this season and Inter did it last season albeit with so-called 'negative' tactics, which i have a very big issue with. Football is a game that has no definitive way of being played but people see the likes of Barca and Arsenal passing it about and keeping possession and suddenly think that this is the best and only way to play? Rubbish. If every team played like Barcelona then football would be much more boring to watch, it's variety that makes this sport what it is.

    Anyway, saying that just cause they won 5-0 earlier in the season makes them the better team is silly. Yes, Real have only won 1 out of their last 8 meetings but just the other week they came back from 1-0 down against 'the best team in the world' with only 10 men! And now they've beaten them in a cup final, surely that does question if the balance has shifted?

    Mourinho managed to beat Barca in the Champions League last year with what i, and i'm sure many others, consider to be a lower quality team than Real Madrid's so i'd back him to pull it off again. Just don't expect it to be pretty.

  • Comment number 26.

    no one cant beat barcelona at their game, no one cant, so what jose did i admire him for that at zico 18

  • Comment number 27.

    Barcelona are now becoming very boring to me,all this tiki-taka or whatever u call it is not entertaining anymore...they will play 50 odd short passes and ultimately look for the long ball for that killer pass...there is no pace to their game and they generally become tired in the end because they play virtually the same team everytime as was shown by arsenal..

  • Comment number 28.

    'Now when anyone talks about his previous tendency to disappear in big games, his defenders need only point to his performance on Wednesday night to suggest that is no longer the case.'

    It never was the case that Ronaldo disappears in big games. Total myth. How about, for starters, the following:

    - opening goal in 04 Cup Final vs Millwall
    - 2 goals in UCL semi-final 08 vs Arsenal
    - opening goal in UCL Final vs Chelsea 08
    - 1 goal in CC final vs Wigan 06
    - 2 assists and a goal vs Newcastle in FA Cup semi 05
    - 1 goal in UCL quarter final tie vs Roma 08
    - winning goal vs Porto UCL quarter final 09

    But, yeah, not really a big game player.

  • Comment number 29.

    and one last thing, whenever barcelona get one over real madrid, the spanish or media portrays as that ronaldo played bad against good teams, lol how about this time i didnt see or read that messi played bad, and for once ronaldo got one over him lol, and also messi didnt score against jose yet

  • Comment number 30.

    In truth, we always knew that Barcelona can be beaten. To give a simple example, Arsenal proved it in the Emirates. The match didn't show any indication that Real Madrid have the upper hand. In contrary, Barcelona were the team trying to create and Real Madrid were the team trying to stop the play and were quite successful in that. What the match showed was that, in the Champions League semi finals, Real Madrid will have newly added courage while Barcelona will have newly found question marks, in relation to their old adversary's abilities to pull the carpet under their feet.

    When it comes to English interest in the forthcoming matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona, this match also showed that it is likely the winner will be weakened due to injuries or red cards, as both teams gave their all, for a second time in a few days to have one over their only rival in Spain.

    If United manage to get past Schalke 04 in the semis, they always stand a chance against any of the two Spanish giants: the final is in England and the team will be rested. Real Madrid tried their best to beat Lyon in France but failed. Barcelona would have loved to have a positive result at The Emirates but failed. In fact, both Spanish giants haven't had great results in their away games and the final will always be in the English Capital. Whoever of the two reaches the final, they will have all England wishing and hoping United to win the trophy. Or won't they?

  • Comment number 31.

    "Mourinho & Ronaldo answer critics "

    You foolishly wrote off Mourinho last summer when he agreed to join Madrid. If you had any substance at all you'd hold your hands up, but no.

  • Comment number 32.

    A dream Nani v Ronaldo final.

    Both could give Tom Daley a run for his money on Olympic diving gold in 2012.

    Yeah, can't wait to see who does the best rolly poly. I'm wanting anyone but United to win it. But that's football.

  • Comment number 33.

    Everyone keeps singing of how brilliant Barcelona is. Yes they play some fancy football. Is that always effective? - NO!
    Don't forget, 2009 CL - they should have gone out to Chelsea has it not been for the referee.
    2010 CL - convincingly knocked out by Inter.
    No guarantee that their fancy football can win them CL this year!!

  • Comment number 34.

    I hate it when people just cannot accept things that have already happened.Barcelona was beaten yesterday by a good Real Madrid team.Unlike their coach and their style,Mourinho is not one-dimensional.He is a good learner and a better reader of the game than Pep.He was beaten fair and square at the Camp Nou earlier in the season and those who really know Jose well knew that was gonna be it.You cannot beat somebody over and over again if he is considered to be one of the best coaches of all time.
    Now,it doesn't matter if Barca beat Madrid in the UCL,what needed to be done has been done.He has vindicated himself very well and would be better prepared for them next season.
    Madrid never played negative football yesterday.They attacked when they had the ball and defended when not.Is that not what football is all about????????????

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.


    22. At 19:52pm 21st Apr 2011, badfella0807 wrote:

    "to beat bacrelona it is very simple, defend and take your chance i will give you four good examples to beat barcelona liverpoll vs barcelona 2006 at nou camp, liverpool won 2-1 the scoreline flattered barcelona liverpool were all over them, chelea vs barcelona 4-3 just ronaldiniho's briliant did it, chelsea vs barcelona 2007 at nou camp 2-1 to chelsea, man utd vs barcelona 2009 1-0."

    Three out of the four examples are absolutely APALLING because they happened BEFORE Becelona became the Barcelona they are today. Haven't you heard teams and players change even from one season to the next? Look at Liverpool then and now or Real then and now. And you even have the year wrong in the last one it was 2008.


    "i dont know why i hate barcelona, at the moment they are and have been the best side for two years fact, but pople praise barceloan as they are unbeatbale team."

    The "unbeatable" term serves to excuse the frailties of the English sides that face them, ie. it's not the teams we overhyped being average but the opponent being too good and best ever.

    Other than that I'll tell you why they praise them that much then. It's because they have in their squad the current 3 best players in the world TOGETHER, how many other teams in history can claim that. And arguably the best striker in the world. Second they have in their squad 6 or 7 of the 11 that won consecutive Euro and World Cup and broke the winning/unbeaten streak thus have proven to be the best, again how many clubs in history can claim that. Third because due to the above reasons they have dominated or deserved to win 95% of their games regardless of opponent or result, with maybe like 5 exceptions in 3 seasons, how many other teams can claim that. Also doing the treble not by scraping and getting lucky like Utd but breaking every record in sight. And finally it's because they have knocked out for 4 consecutive times all the top teams from the league that liked to trumpet itself as "best in the world" up to then. If you hate them for these reasons, your call.



  • Comment number 37.

    Whoever wins the UCL semi between Real/Barca will ultimately lose to United in the final in fergie time :P

  • Comment number 38.

    Whoever of the two reaches the final, they will have all England wishing and hoping United to win the trophy. Or won't they?

    -------------

    Wishful thinking. After all the abuse and gloating many (not all) Utd fans give out I can't see many neutrals wanting them to win.

  • Comment number 39.

    What do you think they'll do about the cup that they dropped off the bus?

  • Comment number 40.

    14.
    if it wasn't for the usual help Barca get from referees when playing British clubs, Arsenal might well be the ones playing Real Madrid now.


    First of all as I'd like to say I'm not a fan of Barca at all and they do seem to get a lot of help from the officials, especially in Europe, but are you Arsene Wenger in disguise?. What about Messi's legitimate goal disallowed for offside and the nailed on pen not given in the 2nd leg. !!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    #35 - 7th Doctor...yep they sure bimbled about last night like they didn't care. They were forced to make it to the final, and once there were gutted they went to extra time (extra effort for something they weren't interested in).

    Losing to Real....no, they don't care.

    And you heard this from whom?? You have a mole in the dressing room??

  • Comment number 42.

    What last night proved is the anti football of Mourinho works. Nothing worse than it. Would be great if Barcelona got revenge by destroying them in the champions league. Challenge to Jose, play nice football and beat Barce, I don't think he could.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Shift in power"

    I don't think it's quite gone that far. I think whenever Real and Barcelona meet, form normally goes out the window, as both teams throw everything into the game. The Copa del Rey is a lot more important than, for example, the FA cup in England, as important as the FA cup is. Both teams wanted to win, and both sets of supporters will have fully expected a win. I think it would be fairer to say that the playing field has now been levelled.

    Jose has the recipe for success against Barca. People will cite Barca not having a full strength team etc. but the matter of the fact is Real have a lot more strength in depth. Just look at the benches last night. People will say that Real have spent far more money. But barcelona pay the most to their players, and have hardly been frugal in the transfer market, (Ibra etc.) And as for all the claims of 'anti-football' I couldnt disagree more. Barcalona, as beautiful and brilliant as their football is, is one dimensional. They have no plan B. Probably because their plan A nearly always works. Whereas Real, can always spring a tactical surprise. Jose can mould his team how he needs it, and his players oblige. Barcelona and all their tiki taka is very boring for me now. And also predictable, game in, game out. As beautiful as Xavi and Iniesta are in full flow, I think Real can rival them in terms of the 'beautiful game' if people aren't so blindly one sided with their praise of Barcelona.

  • Comment number 44.

    14. At 19:22pm 21st Apr 2011, lacplesis37 wrote:

    I seem to recall Arsenal beating Barca too. Indeed, if it wasn't for the usual help Barca get from referees when playing British clubs, Arsenal might well be the ones playing Real Madrid now


    You seem to forget that arsenal was totaly outplayed for 80 min of the first game. the second game they had 0 shots on target and 0 shots off target so i dont know how you can blame it on the ref

  • Comment number 45.

    One result shifts the balance of power?

    LOL

    Valdes wasn't even in goal. Face it, it meant more to Real than it did to Barca.

  • Comment number 46.

    You cannot discount a Mourinho team in the Champions League. He knows how to win it better than anyone and I think he'll do it again

  • Comment number 47.

    People seem to forget that Mourinho's Inter absolutely battered Barca in the first leg last year at home with one of the very best displays seen vs this Barca team by a long way. He knew he had the two goal advantage for the second leg and went to the Nou Camp and whilst it was negative, it was tactically brilliant. That first leg though showed that Jose can set out a team to play attacking football and Barca didn't know what hit them on that night.

  • Comment number 48.

    Many here seem to assume that the final at Wembley has already been ordained as a game between either Barca or Real Madrid and Man Utd.

    Hmm, I see a big banana skin on the horizon.

    After all, it wouldn't be the first time a German team has proved the nemesis of England's hopes. Schalke have just knocked out last year's champions, and handily so. Yet, it appears they have already lost the semi-final to Man Utd.

    One game at a time, people. One game at a time.

  • Comment number 49.

    Three out of the four examples are absolutely APALLING because they happened BEFORE Becelona became the Barcelona they are today. Haven't you heard teams and players change even from one season to the next? Look at Liverpool then and now or Real then and now. And you even have the year wrong in the last one it was 2008.
    -----------------------------------
    To ignore the games this team(and there was virtually no difference between the starting 11 in 2007 and the one in 2008) played before 2008 just because it breaks your view of them is extremely myopic. You don't judge teams only when they win, you judge their losses too, and Barca, for all this talk of unbeatable, have only won 1 CL with this team. Man United, Inter and Arsenal have proven them to be beatable in Europe, even in 2008 semi finals they only drew with Chelsea and went through on away goals in a poorly officiated game. Until they can win at least 2 Champions League titles they are a far cry from the greatest side ever(and certainly not, by very definition, unbeatable), the Milan and Madrid of old did much more in their prime and so are more worthy of that crown.

  • Comment number 50.

    "Whoever of the two reaches the final, they will have all England wishing and hoping United to win the trophy. Or won't they?"

    Considering United's record against German opposition this is an insult to asume that United will win.
    Personally the only one of the 4 I'll be cheering for as an Englishman is Schalke.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 14. lacplesis37

    "I seem to recall Arsenal beating Barca too. Indeed, if it wasn't for the usual help Barca get from referees when playing British clubs, Arsenal might well be the ones playing Real Madrid now."

    Ha! Your comment just underlines the fact that some football fans are simply unable to be anything other than completely biased in favour of their own team!

    As for the topic in hand, the cup game clearly meant more to Real than Barcelona, but the fact the men from Madrid put and end to their losing run against Barca will give them a bit of belief and just serve to make the Champions League showdown all the more interesting.

  • Comment number 52.

    Of course Pepe should have been sent off even before he had his chance to open the score at the end of the first half. He almost broke Messi's leg with a wild challenge. If this is the kind of tactics that The Special One now relies on, it speaks volumes about his lack of coaching competence when it come to playing against Barça!

  • Comment number 53.

    @ 50, greenmarkfo,

    If you bothered to read the paragraph where you took the text from, you would read that the entire paragraph starts with a big IF :)

  • Comment number 54.

    17. At 19:34pm 21st Apr 2011, messien wrote:
    The problem for Barca is the lack of depth in their squad - which is the exact opposite for real
    -------
    I could not agree more. A look at Barca's bench vs. Real's bench could potentially (underline potentially, because we all know the quality of Barca's Youth team) bring a shift in the balance of power in spanish football.
    As a Madrid fan (i.e. in spain) I was ecstatic last night, but I cannot see Barca falling behind Real in the pecking order of spanish football anytime soon. Barca is just a world apart

  • Comment number 55.

    @7...its called 'keep ball' and Barcelona do it rather well...one of the consequences of playing 'keep ball' is that it tires the opposition making it easier to score goals...

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 54, Mark Bill,

    Barcelona have 3 players who are irreplaceable: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta. But those players would be irreplaceable in whichever team they might play, now. Apart from them, I can't believe people saying they lack depth. One could argue, actually that, when those three play, the rest need to be just efficient and Barcelona have many such players.

  • Comment number 57.

    For those that say they don't like Barca's style of play, I understand it's a game of opinions. For those that say it's all very well playing tika tak and not winning I suggest you look at Barca and Spain's trophy cabinet over the last few years. You'll also find people remember them a lot better than the actual winners. People seem to be criticising Barca because alledgedly they're unbeatable. Hercules showed that wasn't the case early in the season. It seems a rather desperate stick to be beating them with.
    Personally I like to be entertained and this Barca team do it better than any team I've seen in the 25 years I've been following football. Give me the Dutch teams of 74 and 78 and Brazil 82 over the winners anyday, anyway. You'll also find people generally remember them a lot better than the actual winners. If it's all about results then watch the match on teletext!

  • Comment number 58.

    i dont see how after two games the balance has shifted..i think it would be better judged after the seasons over and who has more silverware. but in terms of tactics mourinho got it spot on, as much as he'd like to there is just no way his team could outplay barcelona at their own game. this barcelona team have an exceptional understanding of each others games which is why they play such good football. but personally i find watching barcelona quite boring, i prefer watching teams that are more direct hence i was rooting for madrid to win.

    and i'd like to add to all the united fans that think their gonna walk past schalke, think again. im a united fan myself and i am truly worried that they will not get past schalke and it pains me to see that a lot of united fans are thinking its gonna be a breeze. this united team has nowhere near the same quality of 2 seasons ago.

    anyway i believe madrid will take the champions league games simply because mourinho is a tactical genius and a Real Madrid vs Schalke final is on the cards...Raul to bag the winner :P

  • Comment number 59.

    @52 Martijn

    Of course Pepe should have been sent off even before he had his chance to open the score at the end of the first half. He almost broke Messi's leg with a wild challenge. If this is the kind of tactics that The Special One now relies on, it speaks volumes about his lack of coaching competence when it come to playing against Barça!


    Let's not forget the tackle against Xabi Alonso, arguably the one player Real have no replacement for, which also had studs up and was aimed just above the ankle. Don't be biased. The referee had a nigh on impossible task and I thought he dealt with it well keeping 22 on the pitch.

  • Comment number 60.

    how stupid can the video the cup fell and almost go squashed
    hahahahahahhaha

  • Comment number 61.


    56. At 21:07pm 21st Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    "Barcelona have 3 players who are irreplaceable: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta. Apart from them, I can't believe people saying they lack depth."


    They indeed lack depth, because first they are 1 if not 2 CB's short that's why they have to patch it up with Busquets quite often even though they usually don't have to defend much, and second because they are 1 if not 2 strikers-goalscorers short and every time Villa who is the fourth irreplaceable player in the list comes out like in the Arsenal games or yesterday the final third looks completely toothless, in emergencies Pep has even resorted to leaving Pique upfront.


  • Comment number 62.

    @ 61, nibs,

    as a Man Utd fan, if we get past Schalke 04 and have to face Barcelona in the final, this all makes me just happy.

    I don't want to look like arguing with the man who gave me the @comments_page=2 tip :)

  • Comment number 63.

    To ignore the games this team(and there was virtually no difference between the starting 11 in 2007 and the one in 2008) played before 2008 just because it breaks your view of them is extremely myopic. You don't judge teams only when they win, you judge their losses too, and Barca, for all this talk of unbeatable, have only won 1 CL with this team. Man United, Inter and Arsenal have proven them to be beatable in Europe, even in 2008 semi finals they only drew with Chelsea and went through on away goals in a poorly officiated game. Until they can win at least 2 Champions League titles they are a far cry from the greatest side ever(and certainly not, by very definition, unbeatable), the Milan and Madrid of old did much more in their prime and so are more worthy of that crown.

    ----------------------------------

    Finally someone else that can see the light. This Barcelona side do play fantastic football, there is no denying that. But to claim that they are the best team to have ever played the beautiful game is ludacris - on the basis of what? What evidence have you to suggest they are the best ever? Ok they set unprecedented Spanish Treble in 2009. United did it in 1999, Inter did it in 2010. Until Barcelona can lay the medals and records down on the table, such as - The first ever club to complete back to back champions league finals, then your argument has no substance. For Christs sake, If United get past Schalke they will be appearing in their 3rd champions league final in 4 years, which also included 2 back to back champions league finals. Im not for a minute suggesting that the United side is the best ever, but when you look back in history in say 30 years from now, It will be the team who has won the most that the people of the next generation will ask questions of, not a team that passed the ball brilliaintly and dominated possession.

    Barcelona have done nothing that hasn't been done before bar a Spanish treble in 09. Ergo, how are they the best team ever?

  • Comment number 64.

    People are saying barca couldn't care less -if they didnt - why did messi, xavi, iniesta and all the big guns start? Especially with the CL and league games coming up.

  • Comment number 65.

    Judging by past semi-finals involving one or both of Barca and Mourinho, the team that gets the enormous dose of luck from the officials will go through. Porto v Man United 2004 - wrongly disallowed Scholes goal sends Mourinho and Porto into the final. Chelsea v Barcelona 2009 - Chelsea denied several penalty claims, at least one of which was 'stonewall', though admittedly Barca were also denied a possible pen in first leg. Barcelona v Inter 2010 - Milito offside goal allowed in first leg and no pen given to Dani Alves. 2nd leg, Bojan goal that would have taken Barca through disallowed for a handball. Inter were also lucky to avoid pens against Chelsea earlier in the campaign. (If there is any recurring CL theme, it is that Chelsea really do not get a great deal of help from refs - see this season and the foul on Ramires not given, not that United did not deserve their win in the end.)

    I believe these two sides are equally matched at the moment. Barca's fully firing first 11 is awesome, but Real have both a comparable first XI and greater squad depth. Imagine looking at the opposition bench and seeing a fit Kaka and Benzema. Barcelona's bench is a bit rubbish by comparison. Barca make like-for-like subs who bringer fresher legs but nothing new, whereas the difference between having Adebayor, Benzema or Higuain up front is great and provides different options.

    Trust me, there will be a lot of hype and then it will come down to the referees as usual. That's just what happens when there is little to choose between the teams. I think they will favour Barca this time around. Schalke to win the CL!

  • Comment number 66.

    Even at £80m, Ronaldo is looking good value!

  • Comment number 67.

    As a United fan I would rather see us against Madrid than Barca, BUT I think the reason United haven't shown so much flair this year, it that ferguson has them playing a way that is hard to beat. they have lost 3 games in total ( I think all season), would be interesting to see if they can reverse the result the last time they played against Barca... interesting.... ( I am not assuming we are getting to the final by the way, just stating a preference in the event we do).

  • Comment number 68.

    #63

    Possibly the best team ever. I for one have never seen a side so feared other world class teams literally shut up shop as a matter of course against them like real and chalsea, and Im old enough to mind the wonderful milan side of van basten and co.

    And the next person to say barca pass the ball around aimlessly I am going to hunt down and batter with a jeremy kyle dvd! Anyone who says that hasnt a clue about football. They are trying to create a 1v1 or even a 2v1 in the opponents half or final third. Thats the point. Against the massed ranks they face its the only way to do it. Chelsea can batter a door down apparently but are derided for their lack of subtlety if they cant break a defensive team down.

    Lib dems abound here, would rather sit and tut tut at the sidelines than have power.

  • Comment number 69.

    Some very interesting comments on here regarding Barcelona. I only watched the 2nd half and extra time of the game and from what i saw Barcelona were by far the better side! It took Real untill around the 70th minute of the game to put two passes together, prior to that i have never seen a top level side play so badly with the ball. However without the ball they were outstanding, Mourinho has a great knack of getting every single player in the squad the fight for the team and that's what ultimately won them the game.

  • Comment number 70.

    What made me think yesterday in the Spanish final was seeing Ronaldo chasing when Barcelona had the ball, something he wasn't doing at United. That apart, I saw nothing I didn't expect to see.

  • Comment number 71.

    @68

    So when your grandson asks you,
    'Grandad who was the best team ever?' You will reply with
    'The Barcelona side of 2009-2013, everyone feared them, even though they didn't win the most titles or back to back champions leagues etc. they were the best ever!'
    'But if they were the best why didn't they finish a season unbeaten, win back to back champions league finals?'
    'Urm... they didn't but they were the best'
    'Why though?'
    'They just were!!'

    You see my point? I'm not for a minute saying that Barca won't go a season unbeaten or win back to back champions leagues. But until they have done this, you have no substance to your argument.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think this ongoing story is very interesting. If Guardiola can prove that he sacrificed the Copa Del Rey to win the battle of minds (and tactics) to get past Real in the Champions League, then he will have finally passed the ultimate test.

    If however, Real (and Mourinho) outwit (out think) Barcelona (and Guardiola), then it will prove, once and for all, that Mourinho is indeed the greatest manager (motivator) in the modern game.

    In a few weeks we will know who is "the man". I suspect it's the canny Mourinho, but maybe I'm wrong...?

  • Comment number 73.

    For all their wonderful play Barca do tend to struggle away from home...their away win at shaktar was their first in the knockout round since they beat liverpool in 2007(even tho they went out) whereas u look at someone as United who are still to concede away from hime in europe this season & obviously had that great unbeaten run away from home(i think it was 24) till they lost to bayern...So saying Barca are the best of all time is an overstatement i think...

  • Comment number 74.

    The point about a "shift in power" goes back to Inter Milan last season. They played Barca twice in the group stages, scraped a 0-0 and were convincingly beaten 2-0. When it came to the crucial semi-final, Mourinho had pulled his team together and figured out how to beat Barca. The 5-0 earlier in the season counts for less than the 1-0 last night. I'm not saying Madrid are now favourites in the Champion's League, but the odds on them will have gone way down.

    Also, Ronaldo hasn't choked in the big games for years. He scored a slew of crucial European goals for Man United, including one in the final.

  • Comment number 75.

    So when your grandson asks you,
    'Grandad who was the best team ever?' You will reply with
    'The Barcelona side of 2009-2013, everyone feared them, even though they didn't win the most titles or back to back champions leagues etc
    *******************************

    I'm sorry, but that is the sort of comment that only a Bayern Munich, Chelsea or ManU fan could make. The team that plays by far the most atrractive, technically excellent football is Barcelona, no question. Barca are an absolute joy to watch (usually), sometimes teams like Barca or Arsenal need to be more straightforward less "attractive to watch", but if all we are interested in is "winning things", we would end up with a world of football like the English game where kids are not brought up to play football, but to win at all costs, BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  • Comment number 76.


    49. At 20:53pm 21st Apr 2011, nit123esh wrote:
    "Barca, for all this talk of unbeatable, have only won 1 CL with this team"

    63. At 21:30pm 21st Apr 2011, united2bayern1 wrote:
    "It will be the team who has won the most that the people of the next generation will ask questions"


    Nonsense. Haven't you learnt yet that CUP COMPETITIONS and KNOCKOUT FORMATS equal the best doesn't always win? Or even worse, the best MORE OFTEN THAN NOT doesn't win?

    Knockouts depend heavily on luck, not mentioning draws usually being unfair, unlike a league where luck usually evens itself out.

    A team having won the CL or any other cup in a season doesn't say much if anything at all about whether that team was the best that year. During their PL 'domination' Utd have won the FA Cup less times than Chelsea or Arsenal. Atletico won the Europa last year and they were significantly inferior to say Valencia.



  • Comment number 77.

    @ 76 nibs,

    I'd have no problem if United manage to reach the final and beat the Spanish finalist without playing better than them, to be honest

  • Comment number 78.

    @62 - Barcelona have done nothing that hasn't been done before bar a Spanish treble in 09. Ergo, how are they the best team ever?

    So which team do you think the best ever? Will you say United? haha


    Many people have said Barca's beautiful football is boring. Haha, how fun, it's just a common sense, if you don't accept it, you're not common.

    If it were boring, then how all football fans nominated Maradona, Zidane, Cruyff...etc as the best footballers ever? Or do you think they're boring, and Lampard and Carrick should be the best ones ?


    Please be a good & honest fan, and put the credit where it is due.

  • Comment number 79.

    I agree totally with your comment - "For once, Ronaldo's head did not go down when things were not going in his favour."
    I think he displayed a great deal of maturity and i'm proud of him

  • Comment number 80.

    18 years??????,,,,does that not tell you how important this minor trophy is? (how much effort have teams like Real and Barca put into it over the years)
    As for Mourinho being safe in his job,hmmm,,,not so sure about that,after all he's going to come up short as far as the league is concerned and the team that dominates Spanish football right now is Barcelona (cup or no cup).

  • Comment number 81.

    man utd fan here and just saying the dream final would be real madrid vs man utd because it would be more exciting than man utd v barca / barca v shalke / real madrid v shalke ( the spanish team would dominate all of those ties but real v man utd seems quite even-ish) also , doesnt ronaldo have 42 goals this season ? isnt the jury still out that one of his goals was an assist or something like that

  • Comment number 82.

    Re: #34...

    Commenting that Real Madrid did NOT play "negative football":

    "They attacked when they had the ball and defended when not. Is that not what football is all about?

    Brilliant. Sublime truth...

  • Comment number 83.

    @55

    Yes keep ball tires out the opposition, and Barcelona are certainly the masters of it, but they also do those passing triangles even when there's isn't an opposition player nearby. This was evident in the second half of the final as when Barça began doing this, it ultimately allowed a dogged Real team to get back into position and again make themselves difficult to break down. In this sense Barça actually ended up shooting themselves in the foot a wee bit.

    If you read the entire post at #7, however, I do not actually criticise the way Barça do this in terms of effectiveness, but more in terms of entertainment, so I don't see why you are responding to it as though I wrote it with the former in mind.

  • Comment number 84.

    BBC Football Journalist Person Specification:

    1. First name Phil.
    2. Be able to state the damn obvious.
    3. Write on a knee-jerk reactionary basis.
    4. Don't offer any insight or thought provoking material at all.

  • Comment number 85.

    I think that DI MARIA deserves to be man of the match even if he was redcarded in the last minute of the game.

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh sure. Ronaldo answered his critics. By sucking for 110 minutes and scoring a fortuitous header.

  • Comment number 87.

    The discipline of nearly all those who played yesterday evening in El Classico was appalling. Diving, simulation, the full works.
    This is not a shift in power, but more a shift in momentum.

  • Comment number 88.

    As as Barca fan through and through(win or lose), it's interesting how the majority of commentors on here seem to be against Barcelona's philosophy of play, talking about their boring tiki-taka and the so called dominant ball possession only in their own half.
    I wonder then why 98% of teams playing against Barcelona, both in Spain and Europe decide to "pack-the-bus", could it be because of the threat that Barca posesses going forward?
    For those that only watch Barca only in the UCL and not La Liga, there's more to their play than ball posession.

    While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, i don't remember for once Barcelona as a team, club or individuals ever proclaiming themselves to be the best team in the world, the "best team in the world" title has been bistowed upon them by the media, the fans in general and undoubtedly their peers alike, even the great/legendary Sir Alex considers the current Barcelona team to be "the best in the world" at the moment and for good reason. I doubt a man of his calibre would make such a public statement and not believe in his own words.

    Lest we forget that the current Spanish world champions starting XI comprises of seven Barcelona players, and to top it all five of those seven players are from the Barcelona academy, it's six players to be axact if you also count Cesc Febregas. That is a testament to what Barcelona represents as a club. Name once team that has ever contributed to a national team's success in the history of both the Euro & World Cup like Barca?
    The same style of football played/displayed by Spain is the same as played by Barcelona, some neutrals and football pundits/journos have even proclaimed Spain to essectially being Barcelona without Messi.

    Hate them or love them, the fact that they are even discussed says it all.

    On a closing note: Total Football was invented by the Dutch but perfected by Barcelona, same as football being invented by the English but perfected by the Bazilians.

    Congrats to Real Madrid for the cup victory.

  • Comment number 89.

    I said that if anyone could beat Barca, it will be Mourinho. He did it with Inter and now Real. Definitly special.

  • Comment number 90.

    Phil,

    Not one so far (not even you) has addressed the Real reason why RM won by this one 'fortuitous' header while prior to that Mourihno RM has never beaten Barcelona (5-0, 0-0 results).
    One fortuitous moment, where CR was unleashed and unmarked in the box. Why? The unsung hero Ade, the lone striker, who 'tied' up Barca defenders. Ade is a potent header in the box and Barca realized that but forgot that there's another.

    Those who vilify Ade as 'crap' are sheer full of claptrap. Ade is a proven EPL goalscorer. Why are they full of 'hate' for him when other footballers in the same circumstances are not?

    Just because he is not running like a headless chicken, not supposedly filled with grit & graft? He covered more distance with his languid style than the others and with intelligence which should be his primary role.

    Case in point when his pass was picked he backtracked to retrieve it from the Barca player to sent a raking pass to CR who could have a breakaway.

  • Comment number 91.

    jose mourinho is a special manager BUT DO NOT use inter milan beating barcelona last year as part of the proof why he is. 1. first leg one of the 3 inter milan goals was clear offside by a good yard or 2. that brings the score back down to 2-1 if thats not given and the events of that game otherwise stay the same! and in that 2nd leg at the nou camp! barca had a goal disallowed for an harsh handball that never was....... had that game kept its path with those 2 decision gotten right, barca would have won 3-2 on aggregate rather than lose 3-2 still though last night, real deserved to win./ barca are getting tired too many games for messi and co their back up is really appauling for such a top club.

    all you saying real were negative jog on. im an arsenal fan.. thats football do what it takes to win trophies. mourinho is good at it. his brand isnt negative its just a winning formula.

    barcelona are the best msot likely but their first 11 cant do it every single week of the season. they were due to be beat and jose did it. well done real

    and yeh im a massive messi fan. but this time ronaldo outclassed him in this game..........

  • Comment number 92.

    Mourinho has put pressure on the refs since the start of last week. Last Saturday's match Cassilas could have been sent off quite early for his challenge on David Villa, and it looked more of a penalty than the one he awarded Real late on. As for Real drawing the match with 1 man less for most of the second half, who was celebrating at the end? This shows Barca were happy with a draw being 8 pts ahead.

    As for last night's match Real played great during the first half but they were not able to keep up that level of play and Barcelona dominated from half time. The referee missed a lot. Arbeloa stamped on David Villa in the first half and Pepe could have gone for two yellows in the first half too. In the second half Alonso pulled back a player who went past him and he too should have gone having already been booked.Early in extra time Arbeloa needlessly raised his studs into Pedro's nether regions and should have received a straight red. What I have noticed is that Real do not play their normal game when they play Barca and Mourinho is behind this as Inter and Chelsea in the past have tried spoiling tactics in the past. Remember Messi being flattened at Stamford Bridge as a teenager by Chelsea's Spanish left back?

    In the 5-0 defeat earlier this season madrid brought on Arbeloa at 4-0 simply to kick Messi for the rest of the game and ended up with Ramos getting sent off for trying to remove Messi's ankle from his leg.

    Inter beat Barca 3-1 last season in a game that could have been 2-2. At the Nou Camp only a handball decision with the last kick of the game stopped barca going through.

    The Chelsea match where Chelsea were denied penalties people forget that Barca played 10 v 11 for most of the second half and yet still dominated possession. In Europe if 1 team goes down to 10, the 11 should dominate possession so though Chelsea were unlucky not to get at least 1 penalty I thought their performance should have been better given their numerical advantage.

    If Barca do win the European cup this year I make that 3 CL wins in 6 years. Nobody has won back to back CL and that is probably down to world cups and European championships every two years.

    As for tippy tappy football maybe some of you should actually pay to watch Barcelona in the flesh. At the Emirates this season during the first half Barca must have passed the ball for around 30 passes at pace and Arsenal couldn't get near them. It was amazing to watch.

  • Comment number 93.

  • Comment number 94.

    It seems like of a lot of the posters here only watched the game from the second half on. Barca were the dominant side in the second half but that wasn't so in the first. Real Madrid had a very bright first half to this game. They also had an excellent extra-time.

    Barcelona base their play on possession. They have three of the most creative players at the centre of their game in the world today, coupled with some amazingly quick and talented wing backs. It's no surprise then that they will go through games with the majority of possession and be able to produce some quality chances from it. However, as was proved yesterday, quality defending is able to hold them at bay.

    Barcelona were all over Arsenal in the game at the Emirates - a game in which they should have scored 4 or 5 goals. The first half of the return game in Barcelona was a different matter. They had all the possession but, apart from the chance taken at the end of the half, created little of any threat. Even after Van Persie was dismissed and Arsenal went down to 10 men for most of the second half, Arsenal could still have made it through to the next round if not for a poor first touch from Bendtner.

    Barcelona do not flatter to deceive - they are an incredible football team - but they can, at times, create a false sense of invincibility. Yesterday, Real Madrid stood their ground and proved to themselves that there is a way to beat them, 70% to 30% possession or not.

  • Comment number 95.

    i dont get this thing about real's negative football.
    i thought real were great last night and i loved the way they played,why was pepe a bigger danger to barca than messi to real? if real had gone in three up at the break no one could really complain,ronaldo himself could've had a hattrick and pepe hit the bar as did ronaldo.
    if i'm not mistaken messi had one shot all game and it was in the 60th minute or so mark,why is everyone so obsessed with this beautiful game? its like defending is not allowed,when barca keep senselessly passing it around their half its actually defending,well its not attacking is it?
    i loved how pepe run all night it was just brilliant to see,certainly better than seeing barca pass all at the back and get nowhere,seeing carvalho play like he did made me realize just how much chelsea miss him and ronaldo heading corners away and never stop running was just awsome.
    cassilas made three excellent saves in the second half but if you look you will see that pinto made more saves overall,i simply did'nt realize that all teams had to pass the ball forever to not be considered negative when facing barca.
    for me real were irresistable and attacked with gusto and created so many problems to barca's defense,even pepe who many say is one of the so called seven defenders was more dangerous than barca's feared attack,ie villa and messi.
    i recall marcello and even carvalho regularly going forward with gusto,they also defended superbly and never gave up until it was won.
    now to me thats a team and not just a team with lots of passes that mostly result in nothing,a team who think just passing the ball around will result in the opponents giving up,well barca will do well to get past real in the cl after the massive moral boost real got last night.
    what do you think barca will do different in the next game? well nothing is the answer cos they dont have plan b,plan a has been found out by real now and barca players know it and will feel it on the day.
    mourinho learned from the first game and it showed in the 1-1 draw,now he has gone one better and now its barca who will know it psycologically and this loss will be with them like a brand,the 5-0 memeory is gone and now the memory for real is,
    played two and lost none.
    mark my words real will knock barca out cos mourinho has more tactical nous and especially a plan b and more,guardiola will do the same as he always has which is just keep passing as normal and hope the defenders let you waltz through.
    barca expected the same

  • Comment number 96.

    Give me North London Derby (the real classic) over El-Clasico any day. Spanish League EAT YOUR HEART OUT. Argue all you like, the two best teams in that country are serving utter garbage... (Barca when playing a weak defense and to an extent Atletico Madrid apart) rubbish brand of football which bores you to bits.

    I for one am very happy that Mr Mourinho is not managing an English team. Yeah fair enough he has a good record and all, he wins trophies wherever he goes but having spent millions of euros they are expected to play with a bit more class then they showed last couple of weeks. He tried to play the same style of football against Liverpool when he was at Chelsea and did not manage to get his team over the line and in the end it drove him out of this country. Whatever anyone may like to add here, Abromovic lost patience blah blah blah. He went on to coach Inter and won treble but didn't actually leave a legacy to be honest. There is not many Italians among their ranks, the team that won the final in Madrid had no Italians at all.

    On the other hand, the arrogance of Barcelona fanatics is unbearable. Best team in the world? oh actually wait a minute, I have heard people saying they are the best the world has ever seen. Give me a break!

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    pablo,in the first half real were totally dominant and could've scored a few.
    second half the game changed and real seemed to forget what they did in the first half,barca took over untill the end of ninety minutes.
    the first half of extra time real came out stronger again and for me deserved the win overall,they had enough chances in the first half to have had a good lead by then.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    I can't understand how anyone can criticise Mourinho for Real's approach in this match. Anti-football? Marcelo's pass and then Di Maria's cross for the Ronaldo goal were absolutely world-class. Pepe and Khedira absolutely hounded Xavi and Iniesta and made them look ordinary. It's a blueprint for playing against Barca. Wenger gets thumped by them anually trying to play with inferior versions of the Barca model. Marcelo last night looked like the world's best left back - Mourinho knows how to improve his players. And tired? Dani Alves looked knackered, Di Maria had plenty of gas...

 

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