Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Matador vs the Ball
By Bagga Wilks
There have been historic match-ups in the world of sports and the Barcelona vs Real Madrid struggle for soccer supremacy in La Liga, Spain, can rival any of the past epics.
In the world of boxing, we have had the epics between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. In baseball, there was the fierce rivalry of the New York Yankees vs the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the world of football, there is the fierce rivalry between Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. The mushrooming rivalry between Guardiola’s Matadors and Mourinho’s Bulls will do a lot for expanding the base of world soccer on cable stations.
The return leg of the Super-Cup was played in Barcelona on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 and it will go down in history as one of the greatest club soccer games in history. The first leg played in Madrid ended in a 2-2 draw. The finale ended Barcelona edging Real Madrid 3-2 and winning the Super-Cup. They also retained their place as the best soccer club in the world of soccer.
In a Barcelona-Real Madrid match-up, there are macro plots and there are micro plots. Throughout the night, Danni Alves, the Barcelona right full back was determined to keep Real Madrid’s Ronaldo in check. Although Ronaldo scored one of the Madrid’s goals and was outstanding, Danni Alves tackles against the Portuguese winger were superb. Alves played miserably in the Copa America tournament and below par in the friendly against Germany but against Real Madrid and Ronaldo, the Brazilian full back rose to the occasion.
The other sub-plot is watching two of the outstanding creative players in the game do their best to steer their team to victory. Both Ronaldo and Messi are intensely competitive. On a Wednesday summer night in Barcelona, it was the Argentinean whose genius as a player took his team over the finish line.
Mourinho’s pressuring the ball tactics worked again and the Barcelona players had difficulty establishing their rhythm. The predominance of ball possession went lacking. But the magic of Messi was the difference in the game. His two goals were herculean and even though Messi has not performed at a high level for Argentina in Copa America or the World Cup, performances like what he turned in against Real Madrid in the Super-Cup, makes him the El Numero Uno in the world of soccer.
Although the game was scintillating and showed that Mourinho’s Real Madrid had closed the soccer game, the rough-house tactics and sometimes dirty tackles of the Real Madrid players is unbecoming of a world class team. Marcelo, the Brazilian left full back for Real Madrid, was sent off the field for his vicious tackle against the newly acquired Barcelona star, Cesc Fabregas. From the first leg of the two match tournament, Marcelo had demonstrated malicious intent against Messi. That kind of reckless intent should be severely punished by the Spanish Federation of Football.
Although one has designated Mourinho’s boys in this article as the Bulls, Mourinho’s club has an excess of quality to win by playing by the rules.
For the 2011-2012 La Liga season, there will be more epics in the making. Barcelona and Real Madrid are perhaps two of the better teams in the world of soccer. The two clubs have become ambassadors of soccer. This is an historic rivalry steered by two exceptional coaches. As long as the match-ups remain on a civil plain, the world of soccer will be enriched by the upcoming epics.