Ladies and gentleman, it is upon us once again. Another Clasico. And now that Real Madrid gathered three points last night against Mallorca, the team and fans can focus on revving up to the first Clasico of 2012.
If this is the first time you've heard of Real Madrid vs. Barcelona this Wednesday, no worries; you're probably not alone. The hype leading into this Clasico has been somewhat less than in the past (no worries we'll fix that). This is due to the fact that, for starters, it's the Copa del Rey, which is not as important as la Liga or the Champions League. It's also very early, considering it is just the final eight. However, the draw is a draw and regardless of whether we're ready or not, El Clasico will be kicking off Wednsday the 18th at 22:00 CET at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Real Madrid looking to defend their title.
And as always, it's not a game that should be missed.
Although Jose Mourinho has his lips tightly sealed regarding the match, his opposite FC Barcelona Coach Pep Guardiola had a few words for the press:
"Real Madrid are a great rival. The quarter-finals will be great and exciting for the spectators. Both Barca and Madrid are teams that, no matter what competition we are playing in, always try to win."
However, the players seem much less excited, like Real Madrid Captain Iker Casillas in an interview with Mundo Deportivo:
"When there are few [Clasicos] it's agreeable [but] when there are a lot you get tired [of them]. In my opinion, as we've played so many games, sometimes [it] feels a little decaffeinated."
FC Barcelona defender Gerard Pique also spoke to the press:
"There are no favorites between Barca and Real Madrid. These matches have a lot of tension, where you get physically and mentally exhausted."
Both players are right; Madrid and Barca have been clashing increasingly more and more as the years pass and as the two teams continue to qualify for the same competitions. Last Clasico saw Real Madrid lose to Barcelona 1-3 at the Santiago Bernabeu in la Liga. Los blancos will be looking to improve on their performance and result in front of their home fans come Wednesday, while FC Barcelona will be looking for a repeat.
Both teams head into the match in relatively good condition, although injuries have hampered Barcelona; for example, Pedro will be missing the trip to the capitol. Real Madrid will be taking the field with their hard-earned victory over Mallorca in hand, but with Barcelona, we're just going to have to wait and see their result over Real Betis tonight in la Liga.
However, that is not going to matter too much considering that the coaches will be looking to focus and ready their teams by the time Wednesday's kickoff comes knocking. And although we don't know much about the line-ups, you can probably expect both teams to go at the match with their all, and for Real Madrid to be seeking a little revenge.
I don't want to scare you, but madridistas, don't get your hopes up too high. For those of you who think that an injury weakened Barcelona and home-stadium advantage will give los blancos an edge over the Catalans, you may be slightly wrong. This is mainly because Real Madrid have been struggling to take full advantage of the first half since the restart of the season, and the time to attack Barcelona is early in the match, before they can put their possession into full swing. In other words, the teams are pretty much even heading into the match.
Continue to join us here on Managing Madrid as we count down to what is sure to be an interesting match with full coverage of the Clasico. And as always, Hala Madrid!