Tomorrow is the final episode of the Cláscio quartet. We will take on Real Madrid at home in the UEFA Champions League Semi Final 2nd leg going in with a 2-0 advantage thanks to our victory last week. The fallout from that game was the most bitter and vicious of any Barça-Real Madrid I can ever remember. We are taking legal action against Mourinho for his post game comments, both clubs asked UEFA to punish the other (both have been denied), and a Real Madrid sports program even went so far as so digitally manipulate the Pepe tackle on Alves to make it seem the no contact was ever made. So in short, it’s been a bit of a circus. A quick note, as of now the final squads have not been released so things could change.
Aside from all that, the fact is we have one leg in the final. A 2-0 advantage coming home from the away leg is huge. It would be a historically painful tie to let slip. So let’s look at the team news. Injury wise we will be without Abidal, Maxwell, Adriano, Milito, and Bojan. However it seems Iniesta will be fit and I have no doubt Puyol is going to be on that pitch. To highlight his influence, we have not lost a match this season when Puyol has played. It will be interesting to see if Masch is still given the CB role, rather than switching with Busquets, after the blunder against Sociedad. I personally think he will because of the merit of all his other matches. It should be the usual team after that: Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa, and Messi.
Real Madrid will not have Pepe, Ramos, and of course Mourinho because of suspension. Khedira and Gago are injured, while Canales and Pedro León do not make the squads. The tactics Madrid are going to play is going to be very interesting. Frankly, they can’t go with the defend and counter, can they? Two goals down, surely, they have to go for it. But with Mou you never know. I am also curious to see what if the nastiness and physicality are present after all the slack they have been getting lately. Will there be place for a striker alongside Ronaldo? Will we see Kaka from the start? I really just have a lot of questions around Madrid, and we will only see the answer once the game kicks off.
It should be another dramatic and high tense game of football. We really can’t ask to be going into it in a better situation. We have shown over each and every Clásico this season we are the superior team, but as generally poor as Real have been, they have oodles of genuine talent, so I don’t think we should count our chickens just yet.