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Real Madrid CF
Posted by Nicholas Rigg on 01/20/2012

New competition, new personnel, new year. Same old story.

It's difficult to come online after another Clasico defeat at the hands of Barca and try to explain just why Los Blancos are no match for their Catalan rivals, at least in head-to-head competition. I can't begin to imagine what it feels like for Jose Mourinho. A winner. A man who doesn't 'do' losing. Unless it's against Barca. The 'Special One' is very-much second best to Pep Guardiola at the moment and, seemingly, he can do little to change the flow.

After analysing, analysing and analysing the only conclusion is quite simple, and quite hurtful for Madridistas. When the sides meet, Barcelona are simply much better than Madrid. While many, myself included, felt the tide was turning before the Liga Clasico clash at the Bernabeu at the start of December, Pep's boys upped their gear to show they still have a hold over Madrid in Clasico matches, and Wednesday night's Copa del Rey meeting proved no different.

First of all, let's get the excuses out of the way.

It was 'only' the cup. The third priority for both sides behind the Liga and Champions League. While the tide may not be changing in the head-to-head battles, Mourinho has certainly put Madrid in pole position for the league title with his side five points clear of Barca - and for this he must be praised. A superb achievement if it comes off, and no Clasico defeat, no matter how many, can take that away from him.

We must also take into account the starting eleven for both sides. Barca's was near-enough full-strength, with Jose Manuel Pinto the only change to Pep's usual first-choice team. Pinto was, it can be said, partly at fault for Cristiano Ronaldo's goal - could Victor Valdes have done better? For Madrid, Alvaro Arbeloa was suspended, Angel di Maria wasn't full fit, Hamit Altintop played at right-back, Ricardo Carvalho played his first game in months, and Mesut Ozil and Kaka were amongst the substitutes. Was this a side purposely understrength? Or one that Mourinho felt was his best chance of beating Barca? Only Jose will know.

With the 'excuses' out of the way, the most worrying thing for Madridistas was the way the side crumbled after Barca got their equaliser. Madrid went one better than before in taking a lead into half-time, but it didn't last long. After Ronaldo's eleventh minute goal, Barca dominated for long spells and they always looked the most likely to bag the next goal. It came just four minutes after the restart, and Mourinho will no doubt have been fuming with the marking. You can stand and do little to stop a brilliant, flowing, Messi-led move, but to allow Carles Puyol the time and space inside the box to head home an equaliser is just poor on Madrid's part.

The heads dropped, the confidence was sapped from the eleven in white on the pitch. A familiar feeling had settled in with Madrid, a losing feeling, and it's one they quickly need to shake off in Clasico matches. From the moment the cameras showed a close-up of Iker Casillas after the goal, head down, it was obvious only one team was going to win. Maybe this was the reason Iker said the Barca contests "sometimes feels a little decaffeinated". While it's hard to argue against Barca's dominant play, the phsycological aspect of playing Barca, and losing against Barca, is becoming a big problem for Los Blancos.

Mourinho was first to admit that the equaliser left his men "deflated". While Madrid 'nilled' Barca in the Copa del Rey final last season, they can't expect to go into a Clasico match without conceding a goal. It's possible of course, as has been proven, but Barca's attack will always create chances and always score goals. To beat Barca, Madrid need to be able to handle the prospect of conceding to their rivals to still come out on top. They need to be stronger mentally in Clasico matches.

Two other things that have to be mentioned from the match - Ronaldo and Pepe. The spotlight was on Cristiano more than ever - can he handle the big matches? Can he perform against Barca? I don't think anyone can doubt his desire in the match. His goal aside, there were numerous 'non-Cristiano-like' moments that showed he was desperate to impress. Tracking back to help with the defence; his sliding tackle on Dani Alves early on. This was a man keen to prove his doubters wrong. While many will say he was, again, unsuccessful, he came out of the match with no less credibility than any other Madrid players - it was a poor team performance.

Talking of credibility - Pepe. 'Shameful' was the headline on the front of Spanish sports paper Marca to described the performance of Pepe. Shameful indeed, and I can't defend his actions. The stamp on Messi was a disgrace, and there were other notable 'tackles' throughout that could have seen him leave the pitch early in another Clasico. What I will say, is that Mourinho didn't help him by playing him in midfield. It didn't really work before, and it didn't on Wednesday night - hopefully Jose will have learnt his lesson. Not only is Pepe a 'danger' to others, he's also a danger to himself and Madrid playing in midfield. Tactics and game-plan aside, it's also obvious that he's better in the centre of defence. He's formed a great partnership with Sergio Ramos at the back this season and he should have played there on Wednesday night.

We've got all this to look forward to next week at the Camp Nou. Hopefully we'll see Pepe back in his regular position (hard hards at the ready, though) and see di Maria back to add some much-needed attacking threat to Madrid. Hopefully we'll also see a much more positive Madrid performance, whatever the outcome. Defeat in Catalonia next week won't be the end of the world, so Los Blancos may as well 'go for it'.

Follow me on Twitter: @nicholasrigg

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Posted by Ali Rehan on 01/20/2012

OK ...... That was always coming when i saw the team line up.... my girlfriend asked about result ...i said 2 2 with a good enough madrid team which includes either kaka or ozil in midfield.... after when i saw the team only thing which was positive about it is return of carvalho, no wonder pepe has developed a good partnership with ramos but i think ramos and carvalho will be so much better cause carvalho is an much more experienced CB... jose has tryed pepe before in midfield but it didnt payed-out...after watching barca play again ...they were a bit sloppey and slow in attacking at start of the game as usual....if some 1 shows u same weekness time and time against u.... i would put my best attacking team in first half and control the whole game.... if see barca there attually were less people who physically tackle u they just cover all the possible passing positions there are to be....I think madrid can win a game against barca with not just a good midfield TBC...

Posted by bryte on 01/20/2012

alex ferguson once said, ''admitting your opponents are better than u is no shame''.That is what you,Nicholas,have done and honestly, you've won ma respect for that.I hope all Madridistas will come to accept this truth and continue to find an antidote to this ''problem'' than to try to justify each and every defeat.better luck to our madrid brothers and to barca fans,Cheers!

Posted by Ali Rehman on 01/20/2012

...players but 3 clever subs in three different pitch...i would put 4 defenders asusuall... marcelo to start cause he is better in attack and we have to attack in the start to take the game away with ramos and carvalho and either arbeloa or hamit but i think hamit did pretty good job and he can surprise at any team shape should be something like this..... CR-lF RF-BENZ
from this i will sub kaka for OZil . fabio for marcelo and put pepe for lass if we get a 2 goal advantage in the first half ... i think this the only chance we have .....

Posted by I.Nace on 01/20/2012

Yeah, Nick! Admitt it and be honest to accept the reality, almost great team Real, good football, though Barca is a different level. Agree with bryte's post. Like Ferguson and Santos FC admitt "no shame if the opponent is better". One oppinion : Diarra could control Messi, though 1 half, rigid italian marking ala Gentile, second I don't know, I'll leave it to Mourinho or any other specialist.

Posted by MADRID on 01/20/2012


Posted by tango on 01/20/2012

It's an interesting point that the last comment was about Madrid having youth system similar to that of Barca.
This is contrary to Mourinho's philosophy. Remember he used Porto's win to get to Chelsea. Just before he came Chelsea were winning domestically and knew the owner wanted the UCL. He tried for few years with the same domestic success and used it to go to Inter. Inter at the time were Italian Champions for 3 consecutive yrs. and on the verge of having success in UCL. Oncehe won and used it again to go to Madrid. Now I'm sure whether he is successful or not it is very obvious what he is preparing to use it for his next job. (Man City ????)
In short Mourinho has a good eye for clubs who already have expensive players but need time to gel. He doesn't care about the long term success of any club. He uses old players who are at their peak today such as carvalho for immediate success. Managers like Fergi, Arsene bring up kids because they stay long to see the success of their team

Posted by sommy, Nigeria on 01/20/2012

pepe is a disgrace 2 realmadrid and spanish football as a whole, i think he derservd a capital punishment and shouldnt get away wit his inhumane act against messi....

Posted by kyle on 01/20/2012

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Posted by Dagreekjuan79 on 01/22/2012

Ronaldo should not start against barcelona. I said it. Ronaldo will almost certainly score against Barcelona but as a winger he is terrible because he involves nobody else in the attacks. He had a couple of chances to get the ball to benzema, who was in great position, and he chose to run with the ball.

Posted by Junior on 01/22/2012

It just goes to show, you can have all the money in the world but that can't buy you a win against Barca's moment in history. They have the greatest player, maybe of all time, a system they have been playing with since they were children, they have their youth coach, and a few brought in from elsewhere. With a philosophy so ingrained in their upbringing, its impossible. Mourino and CR7 should leave Madrid and spare their careers. They are eventually going to come to the conclusion that they will always lose to them. CR7 is supposed to be in his prime and is getting shown up constantly by some kid who hasn't even peaked yet.

They should give up and spare themselves more humiliation.

Posted by Lucky on 01/23/2012

I love all your comments, @tango, you are not right when you say Maurino don't have development philosophy, if check very well, you will know that the clubs that hires him don't have development policy, the clubs want win win win, Inter Milan has never won UEFA for long time and hungry of doing so, Real Madrid also wants the title too while Maurino has a dream of winning UEFA with 3 differents clubs. He might archive that in madrid. Maurino might stay in Madrid because Barca has disgrace him alot, winning most of the el clasico, he might think of revenging and having clean sheet on barca. thinking of Man City, Man city does not have development policy too, they spent alot of money buying professionals. talking about Man U, the club has development policy, because when things were not going fine, they did not fire ferguson, look out at arsenal, they have not won title for long time, they develop younger players and sale, they are totally doing business.

Posted by Khoo Kyaw San on 01/24/2012

MESSI is the best player in the world, no doubt about it. Before him was Ronaldinho, who was known as a magician. But the latter unbelievably disappeared from football world as if he had never existed as a magician.
The same thing will happen to Messi, no doubt about it.
Barcelona will also be another vincible FC when Messi falls.
This season or the next, Mourinho will defeat Barcelona as he is biding his time, no doubt about it. The present alone does not determine a person's fate. Mark my words!

Posted by Emmanuel Oku on 01/26/2012

Its always a sad tale and a bitter experience, when you are always overwhelmed by your bitter rivals. Real Madrid has really been the wiping team when it comes to Barcelona. There's really not much Mourinho can do because its all about the players and not just his tactics. He is undoubtedly a good coach but it appears the players do not need victory as much as he wants. Because I cannot believe the same players play all the time and CAN'T beat a team like Barca who play the same players all the time. IT'S REALLY ABSURD. It has become a JINX. The players are really the spoilers and not the Coach in this instance. Football is about scoring goals and Real Madrid only lacks that when they play Barcelona. look at how they dispatch other teams in the La Liga and even in Europe, but when it comes to Barca, they loose all that confidence. they should deal with their confidence before they can really BEAT BARCELONA. Its really sad!!

Posted by ali on 01/26/2012


Posted by kapumpe benson on 01/31/2012

i agree with most things on this blog,the only thing i disagree with is to shoot Mourinho cos he has failed to beat Barca.the only thing anyone should accept be it a RM supporter or Barca is that Barca are a very good team in this world and it will take players who are hungry for success to beat them.without that u cannot beat Barca in they am to play their soccer.

Posted by Zoel on 02/24/2012

no es el mejor edoaenrntr.fue incapaz de meter al chelsee en una final de de los mejores pero me quedo con del bosque pep o anceloti.como persona ya ni hablamos

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