BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 21: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF shake hands prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on April 21, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. Real Madrid CF won 1-2. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
It is upon us. The first Clasico of the 2012-2013 season. This time, Real Madrid and Barcelona will be vying for the title of the Supercopa, and the first leg will kick off at the Camp Nou on Thursday. Although having a title is great, the importance of this match will mostly stem from seeing how both Spanish titans look head to head as we launch into another la Liga season.
Taking a look behind enemy lines, we can see that Barcelona are as ready as ever. Leo Messi spoke to the press and expressed his ambitions for the season.
We're a team that wants to keep on winning important titles for the club [...] It's important to start off winning", Messi told reporters. "Despite having a new head-coach, the team continues to play with the same philosophy and style of play.
When asked about the upcoming Supercopa, he predicted two complicated matches.
It will be a complicated leg because they are an experienced rival.
Brazilian defender Adriano talked about the team's condition and his excitement:
It is always appetizing to play against Madrid and we hope to start off the season on the right footing by winning the Supercopa.
Well, Barcelona should hope that they are ready for the match because a draw could be almost equivalent to a loss since the second leg will be played in Madrid six days later.
They will be intense, competitive games. This is just the start of it, but last season we managed vibrant, extraordinary, high-tension games despite some of the players only just having arrived. We are taking this very seriously.
Although I wouldn't describe the matches as "vibrant" last time around, they were certainly high tension. Hopefully, we don't see a repeat of last time's brawl at Camp Nou, and instead we see the quality of match deserved of these two giants.
[...] As with last year, we play against Barcelona. It will be a beautiful, exciting match, in which two teams that play football and create goals go head to head. We are going there with the idea of winning.
Now we are only thinking about the match against Barcelona. We have a Supercup match we have to win. We will give out all to win the game there and then win here to win the title.
Both Real Madrid and Barcelona will enter the highly-anticipated game fresh off Matchday 1 of La Liga, but with different results. As a sluggish Real Madrid tied with Valencia 1-1, Barcelona started off their season by thrashing Real Sociedad 5-1, which proved that new coach Tito Villanova is having no problem settling into the coach's seat and getting the Catalans in stride. However, Real Madrid were hindered numerous times by the Valencia keeper, so don't be fooled. Both teams will take the pitch confident and as deadly as ever. Despite some injuries, both teams look to be at about equal footing providing Real Madrid can shake off the drowsiness we saw against Valencia.
Because of this, it seems that the majority of the press seems reluctant to make any blatant predictions regarding the result or even leave a victor to be inferred. A quick look around the previews and predictions that are just going up will tell you that Barcelona is favored, which is expected considering they will play at home. However, not many seem to think that they will win by a large margin, which is an encouraging thought.
Later, we'll preview the match, have an open thread, and be posting any breaking news, so continue with us here on Managing Madrid for full coverage of the first Clasico clash of 2012-2013.