El Clasico!

It may be an abbreviated version of it thanks to the Champions League semifinal, but it is still EL CLASICO WEEK, an insane combination of high-volume, low-thought, short-fused absurdity. Mourinho accusing Guardiola of having won 2 tainted Champions Leagues, never mind Porto or Inter’s own debt to refereeing decisions of course, Pepe sharpening his studs, Messi playing video games, Alexis maybe getting injured, and everyone and their mother cursing up a storm about tactical formations, the end of the world, and (in my special case) whether the bar will run out of beer before the game even starts.

This is the league. This is the whole season.

If we lose (or draw) here, it’s over. A win is the only thing of value in the quest for a 4th consecutive title. The team has to put the defeat to Chelsea behind them and focus squarely on the titanic match waiting on Saturday. It’s not about the pathetic whining of someone who was passed over for a job with FCB because he made the board uncomfortable with his totalitarian style; it’s not about whether the last time the two teams met a ref blew the whistle at the wrong time; it’s not about cycles or self-styled best teams in the world. It’s about BarΓ§a-Madrid. It is about El Clasico. It is about 98,000 screaming fans in the Camp Nou.

All of that, though, all the tension, all the drama, all the bickering and whining, can be summed up in this:

Manita, baby! For Eric, for Catalunya, for children everywhere!

Bring it.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

37 Comments

  1. hammeronmessi
    April 19, 2012

    manita signal of pique imo was the best image from that game.

    gonna be an easy match for us.3 1 for us

  2. April 19, 2012

    Sanchez is rumored to be a doubt, after a tackle from John Terry yesterday.

    • Jim
      April 19, 2012

      I think Pedro is worthy of a starting place again although it would have been nice to see Sanchez against them.

  3. nia
    April 19, 2012

    Bring on el clasico, i’m mad now, no longer scared of losing. Barca need to anounce to the world one more time why they are the best in the business. EE doesn’t need to win so they will park the bus. It’s up to us to take the game to them and FINISH our chances. The good thing is that both teams are coming of loses and i don’t think we’ll see a complacent team. Actually, the best thing for EE to do for us is score 1st and early too so our guys give it their all. Come on Barca, win it for Abi, Villa and Unicef.

  4. Jim
    April 19, 2012

    I just want Pique and Puyol back in the middle of the defence πŸ™

  5. Ahmad
    April 19, 2012

    This might be a little off topic, it’s about the commentary team with Ray hudson and his pal. I like Ray, I really do. But what get’s on my nerves a lot is when a team scores and then the American commentator starts talking right away while Ray has to wait. I like to listen to Ray’s passion and excitement right after the goal, but you feel that the more he has to wait for his buddy to finish the more his excitement dies down and he eventually resorts to a casual commentary after the other guy is finished. Basically, let Ray explode with his admiration right after a beautiful goal when he’s got alot to say instead of waitig for his pal to state the painfully obvious about what just happened. It just makes me pissed off sometimes…

    • mom4
      April 19, 2012

      Ray seldom lets Phil interfere with his excitement. And after having to listen to FSC commentators and the Pizza Hut halftime show for the CL games I’ll take Ray and Phil any day. At least Phil, unlike the FSC and most of the ESPN guys, can pronounce the names of the stadium and players.

      I expect plenty of Rayisms on Saturday.

      US viewers have a choice of GOL TV or ESPN3 2 PM EST. Those lucky few can also get it on ESPN Deportes. Imma watch it with Ray.

  6. blitzen
    April 19, 2012

    Yesss, the Clasico. My preciousss!

    Do we know if Pique is fit yet? If so, I would start him. If not, then Masch. Rumour is that Sanchez is out, but nothing is on the official site. Again, if fit I would start him. Assuming not, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Pep could play Dani Alves as a right winger (with Montoya or Puyol at RB). Something like:

    Puyol Masch Pique Adriano
    Xavi Busquets Iniesta
    Dani Alves Messi Pedro

    Bench: Cesc, Cuenca, Keita, Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Tello.

    No Thiago because he got himself ruled out. We are really going to miss Abidal in this one.

    • blitzen
      April 19, 2012

      Scratch that, I think Afellay might make the bench ahead of Tello.

    • sd
      April 19, 2012

      I am pretty certain Thiago is not ruled out. I think he is available. Remember he had one card taken away? According to soccernet he has only 2 cards. Soccerway has him with 4 cards. as.com has him with 4 and if I remember correctly barcastuff had said that only Valdes and Alexis were in danger of missing the Clasico if they picked up a yellow last week.

      • blitzen
        April 19, 2012

        Hmm. Looks like you may be right. The official site has him with 4 cards as well. OK, he goes on the bench instead of Afellay or Tello. I think.

        • sd
          April 19, 2012

          That should be a relief to you. You were really angry at him last week for that yellow.

          • blitzen
            April 19, 2012

            Yes I was. It was so stupid. I’m tired of our players getting carded for mouthing off!

          • sd
            April 19, 2012

            I completely agree. I get very annoyed with people mouthing off and then justifying that you have to put pressure on the ref (not that thats what our players always do or anything). Just shut up and play. Things are much more productive that way.

  7. mom4
    April 19, 2012

    OT- only it’s not too off topic as it involves the names of the players that are on topic oh I give up.

    Someone here, might be BarcaOwl sometimes asks me how my puppy, Xavi, is doing and if he’s chewed up his stuffed toy bull, teh Ramos, yet. Well, teh Ramos is no more. Actually the Irish Setter got a hold of what was left of it an de-stuffinged(yes, that is a word- ’cause I so say) its head. I searched in vain for a new, sturdy, and safe bull. Alas, there was none to be found. So I settled on the next best thing…a stuffed pig. I thought I’d name it Ramos Dos but with the clasico coming up I may name it Figo. πŸ™‚
    Xavi attacks and shakes it with wild abandon as any good cule dog would do to a merengue toy.

    Just a little true nonsense to brighten your day.

    • Momo
      April 19, 2012

      You have a puppy named Xavi??
      Awesome

    • BarcaOwl
      April 19, 2012

      A moment of silence for teh Ramos. He was a good chew toy that offered much amusement to all.

      Yes, Mom4. I did ask you how little Xavi’s doing. πŸ™‚

      Personally, I’d consider naming the stuffed piggy, Pepe, but that might not be a good idea. Apparently all Pepes taste bad and we wouldn’t want to offend Xavi’s refined tastebuds. πŸ˜‰

      • mom4
        April 19, 2012

        lol, already have a stuffed skunk named Pepe for him. See, great minds think alike! We’re going with Figo.

        • BarcaOwl
          April 20, 2012

          Good point. A skunk would fit Pepe better. But i feel kind of sorry for the poor skunks to be saddled with him. I think they’re kind of cute. πŸ˜›

          So, Figo it is. Hope Xavi will have lots of fun with him.

  8. April 19, 2012

    After battling with an impressive Chelsea defense, Ramos/Pepe/Marcelo/Alonso etc will seem like a piece of cake. I’m pretty relaxed about the Clasico this time (though I’m sure from Friday night through Saturday afternoon I’ll be a nervous wreck).

  9. Helge
    April 19, 2012

    I never felt less excited about an ‘el Clasico’ since Pep took over.

    My mind is completely fixed on Chelski. It would be a bigger blow to not qualify for the final than to not win la Liga, at least for me. It’s a question of merit. And after watching yesterday’s match once again, I feel that we actually deserved to win, certainly to draw. As far as la Liga is concerned, Real Madrid probably deserves to win it due to their consistency, goal stats etc. – they certainly deserve that title more than Chelsea does to reach the CL final.

  10. nzm
    April 19, 2012

    Valencia being dealt a major hammering by ATM.

    Alba is having a shocker.

    • nzm
      April 19, 2012

      Wow – each Valencia goal was scored in overtime that ran way over. Ref’s gonna be spoken to in the carpark! πŸ˜€

  11. Josep
    April 19, 2012

    hey does anyone know who barca play this weekend

  12. nia
    April 19, 2012

    They r showing ‘the soul of Barcelona’ right now on goltv, good stuff.

  13. Gogah
    April 20, 2012

    whats the status on Pique and Lexus?
    Pique was just getting started, now he’s disappeared again.
    Hoping for a professional, low energy/stress expending, clean game on Saturday.

    • BarcaOwl
      April 20, 2012

      Low stress for a clasico? You’re joking,right?

      • BarcaOwl
        April 20, 2012

        Oh yes, you can certainly hope. But if you do find the secret to remaining stress-free for a clasico, do let me know. Could use a good dose of it myself.

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