Not So Clásico

Sandro Botticelli
“Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona feature some of the best soccer players on earth, are the world’s two richest clubs, embody drastically opposed philosophies of the game, have combined to win more than 140 trophies, and share a complex, antagonistic history that ties their rivalry inescapably to the Spanish Civil War. (Fascists kidnapped and executed Barcelona’s club president in 1936; the Franco regime used Madrid as a symbol of Spanish nationalism.) Any game between these two clubs is a big deal. Four Clásicos in 18 days is, in the soccer universe, a quasar.” Slate – Brian Phillips

Barcelona v Real Madrid: tactical preview
“Amongst the squabbling, appealing and conspiracy theories, there’s a football match to play tonight at the Camp Nou. Now into the fourth part of a four-part Clasico series, there’s relatively little left to say about the potential tactics of both managers. We’ve had one win for Pep Guardiola, one win for Jose Mourinho (in extra time) and one draw. We’ve had different formations, different players and wildly different patterns to matches, and it’s difficult to predict what more can reasonably be expected tonight.” Zonal Marking

On Mind Games
“Listening to the most recent ESPN Soccernet Podcast seemed to confirm the notion that there is a persistent, perhaps all-too-British, unreconstructed lapdog approach to covering Jose Mourinho.” Run of Play

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