All the players say it won't define the season. They say the winner won't come out the champions of Spain. They're half right. It will define the season, perhaps because it will give one side ammunition until April or perhaps because the winning side's media will continually mention it for the rest of the season. Sure, you're doing quite well in La Liga and Champions League, but don't you remember who won at the Camp Nou?
It will be either a damnification or a justification of Mourinho's time in Madrid. The previous scorelines will either have all be in vain or a build-up to this moment. It will be called defining and it will be called a turning point. It doesn't even matter which way it goes, it will be seen as the center of the season. The fans of both teams--and the fans of plenty of other teams too--circled this weekend as The Big One when the calendars were first released, so, really, it is The Big One, but it's also just 3 points sitting alongside 111 other ones.
And all of that doesn't even begin to broach the subject of what happens if there's a draw. Which just can't happen for the sanity of the rest of us and because, perhaps secretly, we all want there to be some sort of resolution, perhaps faux resolution, to the whole thing. Even if it's fake and stupid, at least we get a polemic, at least we get something we can call definite. A draw just keeps it wishywashy (and thus the neutrals should probably be rooting for one).
If Madrid win, they're 4 points clear. If Barça win, the lead will be 2 points. A draw keeps it at 1 solitary point. Higuain is out. Mourinho is going back to the Camp Nou after his mad dash last season. Messi has scored in something like 9 straight matches. He and Cristiano Ronaldo are fighting it out for Pichichi honors. Barça has won 4 straight by a total score of 11-2. At home it's 2-0 and 1-0.
They don't come much bigger than this. And they don't often happen on a Monday. Here's to El Clasico. May it live up to expectations.
Visca el Barça!