Copa del Rey Semifinals Preview: Real Madrid v FC Barcelona – A Talk With RealMadridFootballBlogBy: Ade C. | January 29th, 2013
Ah, can you smell the adrenaline? It’s Clásico time!
Jordi Roura has called up nineteen players for tomorrow’s trip to Madrid, not including Tello, Cuenca, Montoya, and the injured (JDS, here’s looking at you, kid); though he refused to confirm that Pinto will start, we all know what’s coming.
As is traditional as of two years ago, Clásico season has begun, and we face a trying few weeks packed with Clásicos here, Clásicos there, and Clásicos everywhere. This makes the job of a blogger very hard, because you canny readers wouldn’t fail to notice if we wrote one preview and posted it four times in a row, so this time we’re going to try something different. To prepare you for tomorrow’s Clásico, we’ve done a Q&A session with our misguided friends from RealMadridFootballBlog.
To start with, I take the microphone to ask Kaushik some tough questions on Mourinho, Casillas, and what the future might bring.
Ade C: In Saint Iker’s absence (#animoIker), who in Real Madrid is going to try and make sure the game doesn’t devolve into mud wrestling? We’ve volunteered Puyol from Barça.
Kaushik: We’ve volunteered Mourinho. He’s a changed man now. As mellow as he has ever been, no wait a minute that’s not good enough. Mellower than he has ever been. That, sounds better. He deeply regrets his eye poke on Vilanova and would like to turn himself around as a person. He’s the perfect man to play this role now, isn’t he? And just when we have your confidence, he’s going to suddenly jump out and do something crazy! Or maybe he will send Karanka to do it? Wait and watch!
Ade C: This time, Mourinho has a new (interim) Barça coach to harrass. Has he prepared anything special for the occasion? Eye-pokes are so last season!
Kaushik: Mourinho believes in the surprise element. Much like his teams, you don’t know what you are going to get from him in his eccentric side. One day he punches air in the Camp Nou during sprinkler-gate, and another day he punches Tito during Tito-gate. I mean, he’s always mixing things around you see. Mou is the greatest coach ever in the history of the universe, okay? He don’t tell you what he do, he just do ‘em.
Ade C: RM are going to be without Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao and Di María for this first leg, right? Who is going to take over sighing, rash challenges, bad hairstyles and diving duties, respectively?
Kaushik: Sigh, that’s a depressing list. I half think that Castilla should just show up instead of the first team, but I think the first team will, because they haven’t played a clasico in months! That’s just too damn long. I nominate Xavi for over sighing, Mr Waka Waka for bad challenges, and Alexis for diving duties. Oh I’m clever aren’t I? Benzema can take the bad hairstyles crown though, that is, if a crown can fit on the top of his head. Conspiracy theory says that he’s afraid Uncle Flo will buy Neymar, so he’s doing his best Neymar impression by growing that squirrel on his head. We’ll find bench guys to take over in the whining and other departments too, worry not. We do pay 30 something millions for all our backups. Why do you think they cost so much? We get the overall package.
Ade C: Let’s pretend to talk about football for a minute. Who is going to play for Real Madrid? Any insight into tacticts, etc?
Kaushik: Oh right, there’s a football match to be played. Your guess could be as good as mine about who is going to play. I’ve lost track of the injuries and suspension situation, so much so that I’d just be happy if we had 11 players lined up to take the field. It seems as though Diego Lopez will get his re-debut (if that makes any sense) at the Bernabeu. Rumour also has it that Marcelo’s progress hasn’t gone as well as expected so we could see Arbeloa at LB and Essien at RB, with Albiol and Varane in defence. CALLING SOS! SOS! It will be the usual Sami-Xabi combo in midfield and its likely we have Modric getting his first start alongside Superfish and Superman. That’s Ozil and CR btw. And Squirrel-head Benzy who likes to score first minute goals against Barcelona should also play. Tactics is same old same old, soak up pressure, hit you guys on the counter with speed. It has worked for us last few times we’ve played you, but we all know its all going to depend on which side of the bed CR & Messi wake up on.
Ade C: Say that at the end of the game, instead of exchanging shirts, teams could exchange one player from the bench. Who would you take?
Kaushik: Ohh that’s a tempting power you’re giving me. I could watch Valdes, taken from your bench, getting rotten tomatoes, eggs, smelly liquid etc thrown at him by our guys. We could get really creative perhaps with Pique, perhaps with Dani Alves, but I’m gonna go with the obvious answer, Iniesta of course. That man is just amazing. Also, have you seen how good he looks in white? A simple google will tell you. Time for Figo part 2!
Now it’s Kaushik’s turn to do a Sara Carbonero and ask me some questions about fashion, alcohol… oh, and maybe football.
1) Messi and friends vs Cristiano and friends? Who wins? Messi? Cristiano? Or friends?
Ade C: … wait, Cristiano has friends?! Um, I mean, obviously the winner would be whoever got to watch such a fantastic game. And the loser would be the one responsible for crowd control, because everyone wants to be Messi’s friend (all his teammates, past, present and future, plus those who can only dream of being his teammates), and poor Leo would be mobbed worse than a referee during a Clásico.
2) Forget football, who would win in a fashion contest between Dani Alves and Sergio Ramos?
Ade C: I am unfortunately well-aware of Ramos’ propensity for colours and patterns which should have never left the realm of dish towels, but I have four words: polka-dot harem pants. How can you even compete against something like that?
3) It is going to be the first clasico for Milan aka Junior Waka Waka, what welcome gift would you prefer? Cristiano dribbling right through his father’s legs to score a goal sound good enough?
Ade C: Piqué has already gifted his precious offspring with a goal and a stupid sending-off. The child has everything! Well, except seeing his dad bleed from the head like in the old days; perhaps Pepe can help with that.
4) Fine, some people would like to talk about the football, so give us the low down on how Barcelona is going to play in Madrid please. The players, the tactics etc
Ade C: These days, in the absence of something that even vaguely resembles a defence, Barça’s only tactic is to hoard the ball as much as possible and hope that Messi can score more goals than the opposition. It’s simple, effective, and terrible for my mental health. As for players, Jordi Roura rested Iniesta, Alba and Cesc during the weekend, so we can expect them alongside the usual faces of Busquets, Dani Alves, Xavi, Messi and Pedro. As to who will play the third attacker… Villa played the full 90 minutes on Sunday, so it’s unlikely he’ll start, but Alexis has been so awful that maybe Tello will get a chance! (eta: Tello didn’t even make the squad… *sigh*)
And, of course, don’t forget Pinto… #Pintocalypse
5) If you had to make an El Clasico drinking game, what would be your top 5 rules?
-Ask for the next day off from work in advance.
-Every time someone protests to the ref using exaggerate hand motions, take a drink.
-Every time Alexis falls, take a drink.
-Every time Xabi Alonso kicks someone then proceeds to look like the sort of classy gentleman who would never do that, take a drink.
-Keep a friend at hand to take you to hospital before you inevitably die of alcohol poisoning.
So, there you have it, friends! Stock up on alcohol or the tranquiliser of your choice, and follow us on Twitter (and @RMFootballBlog too) for updates as Clásico season descends on us like a seasonal madness!
Some Related Barcelona Posts:
- Channeling Cassandra: Barcelona-Real Madrid Preview
- El Clásico review: FC Barcelona 2, Real Madrid 2, Or, The Messi and Cristiano Show!
- Copa del Rey Preview: FC Barcelona vs Málaga. Here we go again…