The ‘El Clasico’ on Sunday night couldn’t split the two giants of football, Barcelona and Real Madrid. It also couldn’t split the two top players in the World, Ronaldo and Messi.
Andy Hunter gave the site a piece ahead of the game, now he’s back with five things we learned from the game itself.
By Andy Hunter
Real Madrid must take their chances
It is the fourth of fifth Clasico in a row where Madrid have been unable to make their attacking domination count. Jose Mourinho’s side have yet again failed to register a win having had considerably more of the first half opportunities. It seems that only Cristiano Ronaldo is able to take his chances when it matters against Barcelona as he displayed wonderfully with the opening goal.
Twice in the opening stages Karim Benzema had golden opportunities to score but fluffed his lines on both occasions. He had been preferred in attack to Gonzalo Higuain who has had a disappointing start to the season and his movement was outstanding. However, the Frenchman certainly appears to lack the confidence displayed last season when he volleyed wide and then conceived to hit the post when the goal lay at his mercy.
Montoya can push Alves
For the second time already this season Martin Montoya had to fill in for the withdrawn Dani Alves early on. The young Barca defender looked composed and certainly offered far more defensively in comparison to his Brazilian team-mate.
It is widely known that Alves is far more competent going forward rather than in defence where he is often exposed. For the second time in a week his defensive frailties were shown up by the opposition when Real opened the scoring.
Montoya is still young but has now been in the first team for three seasons and he certainly looks capable of stepping up. The right full-back role has now been highlighted even more by the brilliance of Jordi Alba playing at left back. He is the model modern-day left back who patrols his flank in both attack and defence in equal measure.
Barcelona need Pedro and Villa back to their best
For all their wonderful possession and technical ability the one thing Barca are continually lacking in attack is width. There was only one inside out run from the wingers during the entire game and it almost resulted in a goal for the Catalans.
During Pep Guardiola’s early time at Barca the runs from the wingers through the full-back and centre back had become synonymous with team. When executed as efficiently as Barca do it is almost unplayable and normally always ends in-goal scoring opportunities. With Messi playing more and more centrally his team mates all too often find themselves being drawn towards him rather than away.
David Villa should now almost be at full fitness and it is only his match practice that is lacking at the moment. Once he returns he should also prove to be vital in removing some of the goal scoring responsibility from Messi.
Pedro played well during the game but didn’t challenge Marcelo enough; he had the beating of the Brazilian full-back and should have looked to push this advantage home.
Ozil saves his best for Barca
Mesut Ozil had a good game last night and yet again he performed excellently in the Camp Nou. The German International midfielder has been way below his expected levels of performance this season but seemingly the site of Madrid’s biggest enemies inspires him.
The signing of Luka Modric and the return to prominence of Kaka was expected to limit his role within the side and has done in recent weeks. It had got to the stage where people were questioning whether he would be included or not. His pass for the second Madrid goal was perfectly weighted and incredibly intuitive; the understanding he had with Ronaldo for the goal should see his place secured for the coming weeks.
Messi and Ronaldo continue to dominate
Has there ever been a period where two players have dominated everything for the two biggest sides in World football? The diminutive Argentinean and the physically impressive Ronaldo are continuing to defy belief and break all records in their path.
Both players grabbed both goals in the game and all four of them displayed exactly what has made them so great. Ronaldo’s left footed finish in the first half was magnificent and his second left viewers in no doubt that he would score. Messi’s first was a tap in but it demonstrated the fact that you cannot ignore him for even a split second. The free kick was just a wonderful display of technical precision yet again.
As the weeks and years go by the superlatives used for these players are just becoming the norm. Ronaldo averages over a goal a game since arriving in Madrid and Messi’s record throughout 2012 is simply frightening. They are both approaching the peak of their careers and if there is more to come they will surely be remembered as two of the greatest the game has ever seen.