From the mouth of Aitor Karanka at the usual press conference before matches, this time before the Clasico, taking place this evening, the first of a quartet – Whenever the coach speaks his words are blown out of proportion. He doesn’t want that, nor does he want to be the one who heats things up before the match. He’s preferred to stay quiet to avoid misunderstandings and it’s not the first time I’ve spoken, it’s a way of working. I’ve already been out 11 times, this isn’t something unusual.
The Real Madrid Assistant didn’t fool anyone. Jose Mourinho’s words do get a lot of coverage and sometimes carry an extra meaning and influence that sometimes he underestimates, but I find it hard to belive that Mourinho doesn’t mean his words to be carried out to as many people possible. He knows his worth. He knows that almost every word he says, especially the critical ones, especially when it has to do with referees and Barcelona, it’ll make headlines.
So he chose a couple days of silence before the match. He did speak after the Tottenham match mid-week. When asked how is he preparing for the League clash, Mourinho said he’s getting his men ready to play with 10 men, as he always finds himself dealing with a sending off when playing Barcelona. How surprising, more comments about referees. More pressure. But he doesn’t want to add fuel to the fire, oh no.
This unusual occurrence, of playing 5 Clasico’s in one season and four of them in such a short time can have a huge effect on how a season looks and turns out. Mourinho can’t afford another crushing defeat like the one in November. Lets just say he better win tonight. Maybe even a draw. A loss will be shattering. They need confidence ahead of the Champions League meet, and the league, which Mourinho has presumably given up on, is a great confidence builder, potentially. A loss here adds up. If he loses tonight and in the Champions League (I don’t think anyone cares THAT much about the Cup), who knows. A win tonight will have the confidence and swagger meter at an all time high.
Cristiano Ronaldo is never lacking in those, and he seems to be the one doing the talking for his coach. First it was the ‘Barcelona are human’ talk and now it’s ‘We Will win a Cup’. We talked about it yesterday – There’s a lot of individual honor and pride at stake, besides the whole Madrid-Barcelona thing. Yes, a win tonight will pave the way for a more balanced rivalry then we have seen the last couple of years. A win tonight might signal that Real are going to finish this season with at least one trophy, something they haven’t won since 2008. Cristiano Ronaldo needs this win, and he needs to star in it.
Ronaldo, in all three matches against Barcelona in Real Madrid uniform, hasn’t really showed up. He never had it easy with Manchester United against them as well. Behind it all, Barcelona are a pretty good defensive team, as you all know. Cristiano Ronaldo needs this win for his confidence, for his teams confidence, for his resume. He needs to prove he can lead his team to more than just win over Barca. A win for titles, and a win over Messi. It’s there in his head. Who’s the best. I don’t belive there’s a doubt in his mind about him being the best soccer player in the world. Maybe the best ever. Today his two weeks journey that can end with glory or as absolute failure begins. Can he back his own words?