Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: La Blaugrana Need Win to Stop Bleeding
After suffering an embarrassing loss to A.C. Milan in the Champions League, Barcelona limped into the Copa del Rey semifinals against Real Madrid with a bruised confidence. Madrid kicked them while they were down with a dominating 3-1 victory, in which Barca looked over-worked and over-matched throughout the entire game.
On Saturday, the two rivals meet again for a La Liga match and, although Barcelona is leading in the table by 16 points, there are a few reasons why this game means more to them than it does to Real Madrid.
Third Time’s the Harm
Barcelona is considered one of the best teams in the world and any loss, regardless of the quality of competition, is met with surprise and/or criticism. That being said, they have just been defeated twice on the global stage within a week and have looked extremely poor doing so. Barring an extreme collapse, Barca has a comfortable lead over Real Madrid in the league, meaning there is no real pressure added to this match, but Lionel Messi and company’s pride has been damaged and they seek revenge.
Losing three matches (two of them against their rival) in less than two weeks would have the world questioning the club’s talent and management as well as further adding insult to injury. A win on Saturday would be minuscule on paper but a very important moral victory for a hurting Barcelona squad.
Madrid Looking Ahead
Another reason why Barcelona will treasure a win more is because Real Madrid will be focused on gearing up for their second leg against Manchester United in the Champions League, which takes place this upcoming Tuesday. Undoubtedly, normal starters for Real Madrid will sit the bench in this weekend’s game and others with limited minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo will most likely start, but we’ll see how long Jose Mourinho decides to leave him in. With many of the reserves like Michel Essien and Luka Modric starting for resting superstars, Barca has the advantage on the pitch. This means that Real Madrid is willing to give up a loss or a draw in preparation for Tuesday’s game, creating more of a must-win vibe for Barcelona.
For the Fans' Sake
A win is not only important for Barcelona, but also for their supporters. It’s rare for Barca to be in the world’s spotlight as the laughing-stock or point of criticism. Granted, they are not nearly bad enough to be labeled a laughing stock, but as of late, Real Madrid has the upper hand in trash-talking. It’s a heated rivalry and Barcelona fans have recently been let down, so they need this win.
A victory for Real Madrid will just be another weapon in their supporters’ current arsenal, but a win for Barcelona fans will signal relief and the rebuilding of confidence. Also, another reason why it’s not as important to Madrid is because if they lose they can still be satisfied in knocking Barca out of the Copa del Rey…
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