Barcelona and Real Madrid enthralled fans last week when the giants of Spain met in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal. The encounter ended in a 1-1 draw, and the return leg will have promotion on the line.
But with the second leg on the horizon, it could be the biggest game of the season thus far. Each clubs have faced must win games in the current campaign, but none may be as big as the encounter coming up.
Each club will be playing with their hearts on their sleeves and they certainly have different reasons for doing so.
The world knows that when these two mountains of football meet, brilliance takes place. But the return leg will be more important than the mere promotion that will be at stake.
What will be the biggest match of the Copa del Rey will prove to be more than just another Clasico meeting. The seasons of both clubs can be made or broken in the encounter.
In this article we will take a look at the individual and overall reasons why the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal will be huge for both clubs. The reasons will be looking at the season as a whole.
Let’s get started, shall we?
This season has certainly been one to forget for Real Madrid. The reigning La Liga champions boast a world-class squad and manager, yet things have not been pretty at the capital-based club.
However, a big win at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the Copa del Rey could be the very thing to save the Real Madrid season.
Los Blancos have faced many trials this season. Jose Mourinho dropped captain Iker Casillas, which flipped the football world upside down. The Portuguese tactician has also faced rumors of blow-up with the likes of Sergio Ramos (via Guardian).
If the locker room issues were not enough, it appears as though the reigning champions of Spain are already out of contention for this year’s La Liga trophy.
With all the issues the club has faced, everything could be changed with a win against Barcelona.
Real Madrid still has both the Copa del Rey and Champions League to play for, but confidence must be earned. There is no better way to gain the confidence needed to win trophies than to eliminate your rivals from a major competition.
Simply put, Real Madrid must eliminate Barcelona to save their season. If that is accomplished, Los Blancos can finish the season on a high note despite likely losing their La Liga crown.
On complete opposite ends of the spectrum, Barcelona is having their best start to a season in the history of the club (via fcbarcelona).
The Catalan giants have only lost one game in La Liga while progressing to the Round of 16 in the Champions League. With a Copa del Rey win against Real Madrid, La Blaugrana can challenge for the treble.
Of all competitions that Barcelona is currently a part of, La Liga appears to already be won. The Catalans are nine points clear of second place Atletico Madrid. The Champions League also appears to be a competition that can be won, although it will not be easy.
But as I stated in a recent article, winning the treble is a necessity for Barcelona to have the best season in club history. With that being said, the encounter with Real Madrid will have historic implications.
If Barcelona is beaten by their great rivals, not only will the chance at the treble be lost, but confidence could go as well. A win at the Camp Nou could be the type of performance needed to give them the best chance at lifted three trophies in May.
The match at the Camp Nou will definitely be difficult for both sides, but it is a must-win for Barcelona if the club is serious about the treble.
Despite their dismal start to the season, Real Madrid has already gotten the better of their rivals this season. For the fans, eliminating Barcelona will always be a highlight of any season.
At the beginning of the season, Los Blancos put in an inspired display to win the Spanish Super Cup at the Santiago Bernabeu. The trophy was the first of the season for the Whites and it can at the expense of none other than Barcelona.
The rivals then met again in La Liga action in October where they battled for a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou. Entering the first leg of the Copa del Rey, it appeared as though Barcelona would finally get the better of the Madrid club.
Yet with a depleted lineup and heroics from Raphael Varane, Real Madrid was able to hold Barcelona to a 1-1 draw that easily could have been one by either side.
To this point it is clear that no matter how well Barcelona is playing, Real Madrid seem to have the upper hand. Los Blancos could yet again show their strength if they manage to eliminate their rivals.
No one really knows what direction Real Madrid is headed in. But another triumph over Barcelona will certainly make Madridistas very happy and that is a big reason why the next meeting will be a huge encounter.
Just as a win for Real Madrid could turn everything around, a Barcelona win would likely finish off Los Blancos. There is not much room for error at this point, and Barcelona could use that to their advantage.
Barcelona will always look to close the curtains on the eternal rivals, and eliminating them from the Copa del Rey will likely do just that. With La Liga already out of reach, a big loss to Barcelona is all that is needed to wrap up Madrid’s season.
Real Madrid is a club sitting on the edge of a cliff. One result can decide their fate and it will ultimately be Barcelona who makes that decision.
The return leg will be a huge chance for La Blaugrana to finish off the wounded Madrid-based club. The elimination would leave only the Champions League to play for and the chances of winning in Europe look small for Los Blancos.
Rivalries always hold the key to confidence and performance. It will be up to Barcelona to decide whether to push Real Madrid off the edge or be the very thing that allows the Whites to rise from the ashes.
The chance to completely obliterate Real Madrid’s season and send the club into disarray will certainly be very appetizing to Barcelona. The return leg is sure to add yet another page to beautiful rivalry.
How big will the next El Clasico be for both clubs? Will the seasons of each team be determined? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.