Tough game. Tough loss. It simply didn’t work out for Barcelona. A completely different team in the second half, they let the lead slip when their focus went down the drain.
With the substitution of Arda Turan for Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona lost their balance in the midfield and were exposed to counter attacks down the right hand side. Turan does not fulfill the same defensive contributions that Rakitic does. Luis Enrique went with the Turk international hoping to bring offensive firepower to the field but Turan failed to do so.
I don’t care what the media says, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema played horrible. Both were giving up the ball easily, bad touches, out bodied and simply lost. Ronaldo will never get subbed out because he’s the star. But Benzama will. Had Cristiano not scored that goal, it would’ve been yet another Clasico he disappears. Dani Alves had him in his pocket simple as that.
MSN will not be excused from this game. Suarez was afraid to shoot every chance he had and missed an inexcusable sitter in the first half. Messi was dribbling like Messi but aside from his first half run (which should’ve been a penalty) and a second half shot, he didn’t cause much danger. Neymar was more lost than a Dodgers fan at a World Series game. He lost the ball, which led to Madrid’s second goal, and his crosses were inaccurate. The best trio in the world were controlled and failed to deliver. Period.
I hate Real Madrid. I do. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I do. I dislike everything about them and their players. However, I’m man enough to admit that they came in to Barcelona and delivered their game plan. Solid defense left no openings in the middle for dashing runs, allowed wingers to cross the ball knowing both Ramos and Pepe were capable of winning every ball in the air over Suarez and waited on the counterattack to expose Barcelona’s defense. Even when they were down 1-0, they remained calm and instead of giving up, the continued to attack. Benzema and Cristiano both scored magnificent goals that deserve merit. They came out and showed they deserved to win.
I really hope no one tells me “its just one game” or “we’ll get them next time”. It doesn’t matter. A Clasico loss is a Clasico loss. But there’s still a lot of positive things to look forward to. Barcelona still sits on top of La Liga table 6 points higher than Atletico Madrid and 7 points from Real Madrid. With 7 games to go, it’s safe to say that the league is in good shape for Cules. Copa del Rey finalist and in quarterfinals of Champions League means that the treble is still in reach. The team has reached potential and has demonstrated the ability to bounce back from defeat in the past so it’s time for Luis Enrique to regroup and analyze the defeat so the team can move forward.
Like I’ve said before, tough game and tough defeat. It happens. Now time to move forward. The team’s got a bright future with a big chance of another treble. Meanwhile, if Madrid loses the Champions League, they’ll go trophy less for the 3rd time in 4 years. So head up Barça fans, there’s still a lot to look forward to. Congrats to Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid for the win but as a Barcelona fan I hope the next Clasico will be more similar to the 4-0 in November. Win, lose or draw, Visca Barça