First off, I just would like to say that I'm proud of what Real Madrid did on the pitch today. From Casillas to Cannavaro, from Metzelder to Raul, everyone gave their best.
It was a very difficult match. We proved we were not easy to beat. We proved that we can't be beaten by a number of goals their President chooses and we proved that if even they had Messi, Eto'o, Henry, or even Cruyff on the same team they wouldn't score a shower of goals—even with their dominance in midfield.
If Schuster had still been the coach, we wouldn't have probably given such a fight. I think Juande did a good job, although in my humble opinion he made a few mistakes. But overall, and considering that he has been at the helm only for a week or so, he did a good job.
Juande started with Casillas in goal, Salgado on the right, Cannavaro and Metzelder in the middle, and Ramos on the left. In the midfield, Gago played along Guti and Drenthe started on the left while Sneijder who was still injured played on the right. Upfront, there was Higuain and Raul.
Drenthe and Sneijder
I didn't think that Ramos would start Sneijder because he was simply injured. I was just surprised and thought that Wesley was perfectly fit, if he hadn't, he wouldn't have been called up, right? But it turned out that Sneijder was still suffering from injury and was replaced with Castilla team player, Palanca—who did a good job by the way.
Van der Vaart could have started instead. He would have played the same role in a better physical shape.
Another thing which I knew Ramos was confused about was whether he should play Drenthe or not.
Royston played and the only thing he provided was pace with no effectiveness. Pure zero—and with all due respect—pure holy crap.
That one-on-one he had with Valdes was a golden chance. If you remember three years ago at the Camp Nou, we were pretty much in a similar situation and we were down 1-0, Ronaldo had a similar chance, but we are talking about Ronaldo here not Drenthe, the Brazilian scored the equalizer which helped us to snatch a point. The same could have happened tonight hadn't Drenthe been nervous and unskillful.
I have always defended him and suggested that he should be given some playing time. Since Robben got injured, however, he has had a lot of playing time but he never improved. It is confusing and upsetting because Drenthe looked like a promising player.
His performances with Holland's youth team were fantastic and if you are saying he hasn't adapted well, alright, he has been here for a season and a half I guess, I think that's enough for a player to get adjusted to a new league.
Barca logically had most of the ball possession in both halves. Ramos for the first time in his life, played as a left-back trying to stop Messi. He succeed to some point, but he looked uncomfortable there.
Gago had one of his best matches this season. I really liked him tonight (for the first time ever) and he should keep playing like this.
Raul also did a tremendous job. He passed, attacked and defended, he basically played all roles.
Another player who played amazingly well was Cannavaro. Now to all you folks who are whining that he is an old chap, with all due respect, you gotta shut up because Fabio has proved he is a worldclass defender who was the only one capable of stopping Messi. Out of four confrontations with Messi, Cannavaro won three.
However, and as I said in my preview, the key is to hold ball possession which we couldn't. Since they had it most of the time, the pressure was on our defense which led to mistakes.
Now call me biased, but the penalty they have been awarded was not legitimate. I'm not whining here, but I don't get it. Alright, lets assume it was legitimate, boom, Casillas saves it! Eto'o was going nuts!
They kept attacking and they eventually scored just seven minutes before the final whistle. A corner kick—Puyol heads to Eto'o who could touch to go past Casillas and it was cleared off after it got inside—I was frustrated because our efforts were all wasted.
We tried to come back but they had a counter-attack. Henry on the right with Cannavaro only defending, the old French chap opted to pass it to Messi who sent it over Casillas, Cannavaro tried to clear it but he was a bit late—he hit the post—I was really sorry and frustrated to see Cannavaro on the ground—he could have cleared it away, but anyway, that's football.
The bottom line is that we proved we are a great club. Casillas proved he is a quality 'keeper. Cannavaro proved he is the best center back and Juande proved he is capable of turning our fortunes around.
Barca on the other hand seemed happy as it is the first time after three years that they beat us. What a win they achieved—no way to compare it to the 4-1 at the Bernabeu with their exact same squad.
Alright Madridistas, chin up, it isn't over yet and you know what, I don't give a damn if we don't win the league as long as we beat Barcelona in the Bernabeu!
Adam Bader - RealmadridTalk
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