Spanish Super Cup 2012: Most Important Players in Barcelona vs Real Madrid Clash
When you look at the team sheets for Real Madrid and Barcelona during their 2012 Spanish Super Cup match on Friday, you will see some of the brightest stars in football, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
However, it will be the impact and performance of some other players that will be the difference in the outcome of this game.
Let's look at three important players to watch in the first El Clasico of the 2012-13 season.
Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid
Alonso's playmaking and smart defensive play are always an important part of Madrid's success, but against a top team like Barcelona, the Spanish midfielder is a key part of manager Jose Mourinho's squad.
Since Barcelona relentlessly pursue the opposing player with the ball, Alonso's patience, dribbling and passing will be crucial to Madrid's chances of possessing the ball long enough to create scoring opportunities.
As a player who will make a difference in each third of the pitch, Alonso's performance will give Madrid a chance to win.
Gerard Pique, Barcelona
The Barcelona center back is the team's best defender and will be responsible for preventing Madrid forwards Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and others from getting a good shot on net.
Pique has had many battles with Ronaldo before, and he has often come out on top in their one-on-one clashes.
The Spanish defender will also play a part in Barcelona's attack during set pieces. His attacking skills are better than most central defenders in the world.
Madrid has the most talented group of forwards in club football, so if Pique struggles on defense, it's tough to see Barcelona earning a victory.
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid
This is a huge year for the French striker, because he will be under a lot of pressure to duplicate his sensational season from a year ago.
Benzema is a gifted goal scorer and found the back of the net against Barcelona in the two teams' first league meeting last year. It was the quickest goal in El Clasico history.
If Mourinho plays with one striker again, Benzema will need to shine for Madrid to score goals. Barcelona will make sure Ronaldo has plenty of defenders around him, so if the Frenchman raises his game, Los Blancos will win.
His pace and goal-scoring talent could be the difference for Madrid.
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