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How to survive El Derbi Madrileño

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A fan's guide to making it through the Madrid Derby with their sanity intact.

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El Clásico is typically a showcase of whose players can be the most spectacular, with tactical poking and prodding for 90 minutes. The Madrid Derby is a battle of attrition. Watching it is a true test of one's sanity, and I'm here to try to help batten down the hatches of your brain.

Before the match

Much like is it with the squad, pre-game preparation is key. But before warmups even begin, you must accept a few things.

For the next two hours, you are going to feel uncomfortable. You are going to be filled with rage and fury. You might even take off a shoe and throw it at someone (and be conveniently free of punishment for doing so). This is normal behavior, and take solace in knowing Madridistas everywhere are feeling the same way.

Next, I recommend getting that sweet elixir we call adrenaline flowing. Watch this a few times. Put on your favorite Real Madrid shirt with Styx's Come Sail Away playing full-blast in the background. Practice punching the air in victory. If you're in Spain, the match is well into the afternoon, so drink whatever you want. If you're in the U.S., keep a brew and/or a Bloody Mary (or both, if you like to play it fast and loose) in hand, because drinking before noon is totally normal if it's Derby Day. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn't get it, and you don't need that negativity in your life.

Take a deep breath. Remind yourself Cristiano Ronaldo is as fresh as a daisy with 20 days rest.

During the match

What can you say about the Calderón that hasn't already been said of the Mos Eisley Cantina? Ben Kenobi said "You won't ever find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Well, that may be a bit extreme but you get the point. It's a treacherous venue and we must hope Real feed off its atmosphere, not vice versa.

If you're reading this, Carlo Ancelotti (and I'm going to assume you are), I recommend starting the first 60 seconds of the match in a 10-0-0. Just make it through the first minute without conceding, call it a victory, and then open up.

Next, Atléti will make a horror tackle in the first 10 minutes and not get booked because every ref in the world is irresolute about handing out yellows so early. It's a staple of Simeone's pugilists players, and there's not much to do but hope no one else gets injured.

Just how judges have their chambers, football fans should have their own safe space. Separate yourself from others. Many English Premier League eyes will be on El Derbi Madrileño, as it'll be wedged between the Merseyside and North London Derby kickoff times. Neutral fans are chaotic-neutrals, and you don't need a peanut gallery giggling as you teeter on the edge of hysteria. Personally, I'll be locked in a room with a television with a coffee, a Guinness, and a designated glass of water for spit-takes throughout the match.

After the match

In the result of a Real Madrid win, keep your Madrid kit on all day and bask in the glory of remaining 4 points clear at the top of the table.

In the result of a Real Madrid loss, stay in your chambers, put on sweatpants, and gently mourn until you're ready to face the desolate hellscape that is reality.

In the result of a draw, shrug your shoulders and immediately start hoping for Athletic Bilbao to knock off Barcelona on Sunday.

Real and Atléti are destined to torment each other for eternity. We've dealt one another considerable pain, and will continue to do so, just like Tom and Jerry. This may very well be the final meeting of Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid this season, so make it count as we all get ready to get a little weird.