FC Barcelona – Lionel Messi Sets Up a Double Clasico

In the last couple seasons, it’s impossible to settle for less than 3-4 Clasico matches a year. The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid has grown so much, that two league encounters just aren’t enough. With both teams making it to the Copa Del Rey semifinal, we’re in for a treat, and at least two more meetings between the biggest rivals in the world.

It wasn’t the easiest of quarterfinals for the La Liga leaders, having to come into the second leg needing a win after a 2-2 draw at home against Malaga. Things didn’t go so smoothly at La Rosaleda as well, but the Barcelona system of passing came through, beating their lack of ability in the back to hold down attackers.

It came down to a few big plays that were enough to seal the deal. One was the Gerard Pique goal, showing once again that he may not be the best defending centre back in the world, but he has other attributes, including the ability to play as a striker or a midfielder, at least for a moment, without anyone noticing. He brought down the ball with his chest perfectly, and scored the second away goal for Barcelona, making them feel a lot more calmer.

The next moment was Cesc Fabregas, that a after a shaky start to the season is enjoying what might be his best. He isn’t the same kind of player he was for Arsenal; a part of the machine headed by Messi instead of the man himself, but he’s adapted to that role, proving to be a perfect side kick for the midfield of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Fabregas, with a beautiful show of skill and passing ability, set up the third goal, that put the game to bed (Malaga now needed two more goals) by finding an open Andres Iniesta in the box to make it 3-2.

This time, Lionel Messi did no saving. He simply put the final nail in the coffin. It’s impossible for Barcelona to score so much without Messi getting involved. Dani Alves is slowly returning to his previous form, scorching down the right flank, finding Messi for the fourth goal with a perfect cross.

It’s only been a year since Barcelona and Real Madrid met in the Spanish Cup, making it a third consecutive one. In 2011 it was Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a goal in overtime to give Real Madrid their only win against Barcelona in a season when the Clasico took an extra step in terms of intensity, violence and sometimes hatred, all courtesy of Jose Mourinho.

The next season Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the quarterfinal of the tournament in the two legged encounter, winning the trophy later on. This season, after already one league draw and Real Madrid taking the silverware in the preseason Super Cup, it’s time for two more matches (On January 30 the first leg) not to mention the second league clash at the Santiago Bernabeu not too far away. Maybe we’ll have a Champions League meeting as well?

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