Biggest Talking Points from El Clasico Draw

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Biggest Talking Points from El Clasico Draw

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    Real Madrid and Barcelona dazzled fans with a brilliant display of football in El Clasico Wednesday night in a match which finished in a 1-1 draw.

    The intensity of the encounter as well as the numerous incredible plays that occurred further showed why these two rivals are the best in the world. With both teams playing at the highest level, El Clasico was beauty yet again.

    But no matter the outcome, the refereeing or the drama, fans will be discussing key issues. Conversations about the game could go on until the next meeting, but we will take a look at the most important discussion points from the match.

    With that being said, let us look at what fans and viewers will be talking about now that the match has finished.

Messi and Ronaldo Were Relatively Quiet

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    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two greatest footballers in the world. The world of football is lucky to have the duo compete against each other in such a bitter rivalry.

    Lately, every meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been dominated by these two prolific scorers. But the latest encounter saw a relatively quiet night for both stars.

    In my preview article for El Clasico, I tipped both superstars to score. The prediction was a rather easy one seeing as they both have enjoyed great success, and it was very surprising that neither found the back of the net.

    Lionel Messi did provide the brilliant assist that led to Cesc Fabregas opening up the scoring as well as constantly threaten the Real Madrid defenders. But Messi was not as dominant as he usually is.

    Ronaldo likewise played a very good game, but he was not his deadly self that we are used to witnessing. Ronaldo missed a header, though it was very difficult to deal with. But Pique also kept the Portuguese star at bay for most of the match.

    While fans love to see the eternal rivals go head to head in El Clasico, it was good to see the match as a team affair this time. The entire squad for both clubs showed up and fans got to see football at its finest.

Barcelona's Defense Was Outstanding

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    The defense of Barcelona has been shaky for the majority of the season. Tasked with the goal of stopping Ronaldo and his fellow attackers, the Blaugrana back line was in for a tough assignment.

    Though many expected the Real Madrid counterattack to tear into Barcelona, the defenders did a tremendously good job at breaking up play.

    Gerard Pique showed that he is back to being one of the world’s best defenders as he shut down Ronaldo and Ozil multiple times. Carlos Puyol also continued to prove that he is the leader of the Blaugrana defense.

    But it was the full-backs of Barcelona that really showed up on the night.

    Dani Alves was one of Barcelona’s best performers in El Clasico as his defending was sublime. The Brazilian even stopped what would have been a certain goal with a world-class tackle.

    Jordi Alba also showed the world that he is quickly becoming one of the best in the world at his position.

    The Catalan left-back broke up constant plays and isolated attackers when they tried to cut in. Alba used his incredible speed to give him an advantage and also nearly scored a game-winning goal.

    Special mention must also be made to Sergio Busquets, who was at his best when playing between the center-backs. The lanky midfielder read the game brilliantly and stopped almost certain chances.

    Though the defense was not perfect and chances were given up, the back line performed brilliantly overall against a very dangerous attacking team.

Raphael Varane Is the Real Deal

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    When Real Madrid purchased young defender Raphael Varane nearly two years ago, many fans were lost. The Frenchmen came out of nowhere, but the club was certain that he could become a star.

    Varane has not gotten to play many minutes and it appeared as though his future may be in jeopardy. Though no matter what criticism came his way, Varane was adamant that he was not going to leave Real Madrid (via

    The young defender has seen more substantial playing time lately with Pepe and Sergio Ramos missing time for various reasons. With the time he has gotten recently, Varane has not failed to impress.

    It was clear ahead of time that the 19-year-old was going to start against Barcelona, and the game was sure to be the biggest he had ever competed in.

    Raphael Varane quickly showed that he is no kid. The French starlet shut down Messi and company on multiple occasions and was easily the best player on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.

    To cap off an extraordinary debut to El Clasico, Varane headed home the goal that saw Real Madrid draw level and the youngster etched his name in the history books.

    It is absolutely apparent that Raphael Varane has what it takes to become one of the best defenders in the world. Real Madrid certainly have a gem on their hands.

Who Will Advance at the Camp Nou

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    Of all the conversations that will occur after the first leg of the Copa del Rey El Clasico, none will be as important as the issue of advancement.

    The second leg will take place at the Camp Nou in late February and the tie will be settled once and for all. For the club that advances, a place in the final will be booked.

    After the first meeting between the two giants, it was proved that the rival clubs are nearly inseparable in terms of talent. There is no accurate way to predict what will happen in Barcelona.

    But at this point La Blaugrana do hold the edge, albeit a very small edge. With the goal they scored in Madrid, the Catalans lead the tie due to away goals, but it is not crazy to expect that Real Madrid will score at the Camp.

    So much will be up in the air entering the second leg but it promises to be a very exciting match. There is much that could happen between now and then, but El Clasico will be what it always has been.

    The clubs have roughly one month to prepare to fight for a spot in the Copa del Rey final, and fans have just as long to debate about it themselves.

    From this point on, every Cule and Madridista will be discussing what will happen next.

    What were the most interesting topics from El Clasico? Who will advance to the final? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.

    Tre’ Atkinson, The Catalan Blood of Bleacher Report. 

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