Real Madrid have nothing to lose, coming in tomorrow to the Camp Nou, trying to erase a 2-1 deficit against Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, who failed to live up to the expectations at the Santiago Bernabeu, can change the balance between the two clubs, that despite Real’s 5 point lead in the league, is tipping, cleary, in favor of Lionel Messi and Guardiola for more than 3 years.
It’s only the cup, something Real actually won last season, but each defeat against Barcelona furthers Mourinho’s obsession with beating them. If he’ll win the title, the Champions League, I’m pretty sure that losing to Barca twice at the Bernabeu will be forgotten for a while. Still, another season of no success against Guardiola will be a stain on Mourinho’s pride, and the proudest club in Europe.
A change of tactics and of thought has to sweep over Mourinho. The aggression and enthusiasm, resulting in early goals during the last two encounter can’t fade away as Mourinho sends his troops backwards, in an attempt that has been proven as the wrong approach time and time again. It’s nearly impossible to beat Barca by playing a wide open and attacking game, but overly cautious and defensive doesn’t work.
I was pretty sure Mourinho realized this already, but obviously he hasn’t. Real Madrid can’t play like Inter, and can’t become a symbol of brutal football, and footballers. Defending Pepe again and again isn’t the same as shielding his players from criticism. Mourinho gets caught up in these blame games with the media which don’t do him any good, while benching a violent player might be the more fruitful course of action.
It’s partly our fault, meaning people who write, talk and broadcast sports, turning the Clasico these past few years as something bigger than the league. In terms of ratings and interest, globally, that’s true, but even the biggest club match in the world can’t erase achievements won over a whole season. Real Madrid are leading the table, winning convincgly nearly every match, but all they hear is how much Barcelona are a better side.
Beating Barcelona on Wednesday in the Copa Del Rey second leg isn’t the most important thing in the world, in terms of what this result means regarding the rest of the season. The Copa Del Rey only matter if you win it. But in terms of winning a small battle en route to the first La Liga title since 2008, for Cristiano Ronaldo to prove he doesn’t have to disappear every time Barcelona face him, a win and an impressive performance might be nice.