Clasico – Resistance to pressure, sovereign spirit and cold realism: how to beat Real Madrid at Bernabéu

Welcome to the place where dreams come true. Welcome to where football is another sport! Welcome to the Santiago Bernabéu!“At the final whistle of this knockout round of the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain, Carlos Martinez expels all the joy of Madrid on the Spanish channel Movistar Plus. In his lair, Real Madrid has just achieved a new big performance on the European scene by eliminating PSG (3-1) and proves once again that coming to play in one of the most legendary stadiums in the world on a C1 evening is nothing trivial.

This magical atmosphere of the Bernabéu, Spain only knows it once in the year in the league. It was during the famous Clásico against FC Barcelona, ​​​​the sworn enemy for more than a century. Truth be told, even the derby against Atlético de Madrid doesn’t box in the same category, with Los Blancos too often having fun portraying the Colchoneros as a team labeled as losers in tragic and cruel ways. This Sunday, Xavi’s Barça visits Real with the firm intention of demonstrating that the team led by Carlo Ancelotti is not an infallible machine. And the Barcelonans probably have some ideas to finally bring down Real at home.

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Barça extinguished the volcano

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“When you find yourself in the other surface, if you have an idea, you have to go all out”

First thing to never forget: beating Real Madrid at home in 2021-2022 is possible. On September 28, Sheriff Tiraspol, little thumb of this edition of the Champions League who fell in a very complex group with Real, Inter and Shakhtar, managed to achieve a historic feat thanks to a sumptuous goal from Sébastien Thill in the last minute of added time. “Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to the context.explained the Luxembourg international for So Foot. On this kind of action, do not ask questions. In offensive situations, you have to try things. You are not going to dribble in your sixteen meters, but when you find yourself in the other surface, if you have an idea, you have to go all out.“In summary: stay in a bubble, do not look at the huge bleachers and as Jean-Claude Dusse said, you never know, on a misunderstanding it can work.

In La Liga this season, Real seems untouchable. The merengue collective has the best record at home and away. In Madrid, the details of the results leave you speechless with ten wins, four draws and no defeats in fourteen games. In total, the people of Madrid have trailed in the Santiago-Bernabéu for 105 minutes in the league this season. But each time, Real came back: led twice against Celta de Vigo to finally win 5-2, led once against Sevilla FC to win 2-1, led once against Real Sociedad to win impose 4-1.

Even trailing by two goals against Elche, Madrid were able to snatch a 2-2 draw in added time thanks to the inevitable Karim Benzema. Touched but not sunk, Real Madrid never gives up and always finds the solution to the problem.

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) against Elche on January 23.

Credit: Getty Images

Don’t take it easy

So how can Barca believe in their chances? Already, the blaugrana dynamic is no longer that of the first leg. Last November, Barça, coached by Ronald Koeman and still helped by recently retired Sergio Agüero, had to lose at Camp Nou (1-2). An almost decisive match in the decision to replace the Dutch coach with the interim Sergi Barjuan, then to appoint Xavi Hernandez with a view to a renewal under the Laporta presidency.

Last January, the collective copy made by Barça in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final ended in a defeat on form (2-3), but had marked the spirits in the background. “When we left our complex linked to the latest results, we competed with themdetailed the Catalan tactician just after the match. I believe we were better than Real Madrid in terms of play and dominating the game. (…) We can be proud. Despite the end result, I consider this a step forward.

Since this bitter but instructive defeat, it is difficult to prove Xavi wrong regarding the improvement of his team both in terms of play and results. Since the start of the calendar year, the Barcelonans have had the best balance sheet of all La Liga teams, with a total of twenty-three points out of a possible twenty-seven in 2022. less on the clock, Barça has just chained four consecutive victories in the league before the Clásico and has not lost for three months in all competitions. “We need to be more carefulwarned Xavi after the slap inflicted on Osasuna last weekend (4-0). What happened the other day (in Elche, where Barça found themselves trailing at half-time, Editor’s note), it was the reality of things. If you start to drop in intensity…” Paris Saint-Germain knows something about it.

Xavi: ‘Barca can’t aim for a draw or a defeat, we have to win everything’

“If you don’t drive them down, they drive you down”

Brought to pronounce on the rout of PSG in Madrid, Xavi had revealed the sending of a message to Leo Messi after the Parisian elimination. “We have a friendly relationship and I gave him support, nothing moreexplained the Barça coach. When everything seemed to be going well for Paris, Real Madrid turned the game around in 20-25 minutes thanks to their faith and desire. The Champions League is like this: if you are not 100%, your opponent passes you over.

Therefore, the former midfielder knows that without excellence in all areas, Real remains a permanent danger, a wounded beast that should not be hesitated to shoot down when the opportunity arises. As in 2005, when Ronaldinho had splashed the meeting with all his talent and reaped the applause of the Bernabéu (3-0). As in 2009, when Barça reduced Real to ashes in the Spanish capital (6-2). As in 2015, where the MSN had left its mark on the Catalan demonstration (4-0).

Lionel Messi

Credit: Getty Images

In 2005 and 2009, Xavi was on the lawn to participate in the success of his family. This time, the former metronome of Barça will have to exercise from the sidelines. “With them, there is no ‘ouch, ouch, ouch’ or ‘ouille, ouille, ouille’ evoked Xavi for So Foot in 2018. They don’t do fuss. If you don’t push them, they push you. For thirty years, Real Madrid have approached their matches as if they were arm wrestling. They experience each meeting as a duel. They look you straight in the eye and they challenge you. Want to attack? Go ahead, we will do it too. But if you don’t score, we’ll put it in.”

So here is the story: in Madrid, Barça will have to act without qualms against the goal kept by Thibaut Courtois and prove their superiority throughout the match. This is the price to pay to win this Clásico on enemy soil.

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