Interview: Adam Bader

Last year I did an interview with Adam Bader of the excellent RealmadridTalk on OleOle; this year he once again emailed me questions that I answered (link soon), but I then sent him some questions which he was nice enough to send back with words attached after them. Sweet.

So here’s my interview with him:

Barcelona Football Blog: Given the inconsistency in Real’s season (9-1-1 in the league and first in their Champions League group, but out of the Copa del Rey), how do you think that Pellegrini will approach this match? Will he put out a defensive shell or will he try to outplay Barça?

Adam Bader: Well, in his pre-match press conference he said he will not settle for anything less than a victory. I like his winning mentality and I think Real Madrid must always aspire to win. Having said that, I think he’ll be extra careful. He has played Barcelona many times, he beat them and was trashed by the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi so he knows them very well. This will really help us a lot. I don’t expect him to park a bus in front of goal, but he will in no way play a very very open game. As you said Isaiah, Barca loves to keep the ball, and the only way for Real to win is to disallow them from having the ball and to score from as much changes as they can get. Effectiveness in front of goal will be essential for Real.

BFB: What noteworthy injuries or suspensions is Madrid currently dealing with?

AB: We don’t have any suspensions which is good. However, we do have a few injured players including Guti, Metzelder and Van Nistelrooy. Guti’s case has been both mysterious and controversial, but my take on it, is that Pellegrini no longer includes Guti in his plans. Add to that the fact that Guti misbehaved during the Alcorcon game in Copa Del Rey. I 100% back Pellegrini, and if I were him, I would kick Guti out of the club altogether. Nobody disrespects the manager.

BFB: Because Madrid has spent such a gargantuan amount of money on their latest squad members, are the expectations in the Madrid camp and among the fan base drastically higher than they usually are? What is your personal take on this offseason’s expenditures and how they’ve done so far?

AB: I think all big teams spend a lot of money. Barça have spent a lot in the last two seasons as well. How do you expect to sign someone like Messi or Ronaldo?

One of the problems Real have is the media, in particular Marca and AS. They rarely provide constructive criticism and only care about traffic and more sales. Statistically speaking, Real Madrid is the best in Spain and Europe, but when it comes to beautiful and collective football, this is not really the case. I think we have done very well so far. As a matter of fact, we haven’t had such a great start in La Liga in something like 18 years. All of that with a new president, new coaching staff, and new players. We are the first in the league and in the Champions League and we are told we play poor football. I wonder if we play very well, how far could we go!

So just to sum up, I think Perez has managed to build a balanced squad and all of that spending was natural. As I said earlier, you must pay a lot to bring those world-class players. We only need patience and faith. It doesn’t matter If we don’t win this year, our goal should be to build a strong squad for the next seasons.

BFB: Who will be the most decisive player for Madrid and why?

AB: This is a very good question, but I’m going to say that Real Madrid doesn’t really depend on a player. It may look like we depend on Higuain or Ronaldo, but in fact, we are trying to play as collectively as we could. I’m not saying that players like Higuain and Ronaldo are not important, I would be lying if I said that, but we can still win without them. Having said that, if Ronaldo plays and I know he is fired up, I think Guardiola should develop a plan to contain his danger. There is also Kaka who is unpredictable, and Benzema and Higuain who partner up very well.

BFB: Will Raul get the start or will Pellegrini continue to put him on the bench? He’s been hugely influential in past Clasicos, of course, so will he be able to work some more magic for RM this time around? What are your general thoughts on your captain’s current position within the squad and where do you see him at the end of this season?

AB: My general thoughts on Raul have always been the same. He is a football legend that made history at the club. But as with all strikers and footballers in general, you reach a period when you can’t play well consistently. It is a fact and nobody can deny it. I don’t consider it as Raul’s problem, it is just a natural thing. We want him to retire whenever he thinks it is the right time to do so, but the team is more important. So the solution is to bench Raul when he is not at his best form, and make a good use of him when he is fired up. It is impossible for a striker, let alone someone who is above 30 to perform consistently during the whole season.

If I were Pellegrini I wouldn’t start Raul against Barça. I know that he adds some flavor to the Clasico, but I would only consider starting him if Ronaldo started. The reason being, if Ronaldo starts, that will naturally add a lot of strength to our attack. Also that will free up some space for Raul as the focus will shift to Ronaldo. The Captain has no pace or dribbling skills and that’s why I prefer Benzema and Higuain. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised If he started or even scored. Pellegrini can be unpredictable and so can Raul.

BFB: What are you lineup and score predictions?

AB: Sorry, this is the Clásico – no predictions. It would be dumb to predict the result of a game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. No previous stats, numbers or form guide is relevant in this case. There will be a lot of factors that will decide the game, but small details and who will be 100% concentrated and effective will win.

My lineup is: Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Metzelder, Arbeloa, Lass, Alonso, Kaka, Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema.

There you have it folks. Next up, the preview.

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Written by:

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


  1. Blow-Granite
    November 28, 2009

    It is very nice that you bloggers could exchange questions. Good to see that!!!!

  2. Vj
    November 28, 2009

    Adam gives a decent account of Madrid.. Would’ve been nice to see some trash talk too..

    Is it just me or is anyone else having a bad feeling about this one? Having nightmares too? Yup, its only me..

  3. Kxevin
    November 28, 2009

    I’m nervous before every big match.

    Messi will play. Bet on it. If he doesn’t start, it will be because Guardiola wants to see if the Inter starting XI will have the same effect. Sometimes, stars mess stuff up. Recall that when the Chicago Bulls came from 20 down to down Portland in the NBA finals, it was with the second unit. Sometimes, guys just pass it to Messi and stand around, rather than making shit happen, as they did against Inter.

  4. cliveee
    November 28, 2009

    damn nice, u blog masters exchange words and respect like the clubs do. RESPECT!

  5. Kxevin
    November 28, 2009

    Hey, remember that Gudjohnsen started, and Hleb’s killer through ball led to the second goal in the home leg for us? Easy to forget, isn’t it?

    • Alexinho
      November 28, 2009

      Hear hear! One of the great things about this week and GolTV is that I’ve been watching a new clasico every night. Last night I saw the home leg last year, and was surprised to go “ohh, yeah…” for both of those facts.

    • Vj
      November 28, 2009

      You know what changed that game? Busi came on and won a penalty almost instantly..

  6. Tom
    November 28, 2009

    Anyone going to Nevada Smith’s tomorrow in NYC? Do you think it’ll be too crowded to be worth going?

    • Andrew M.
      November 28, 2009

      woth nevadas and clasicos you have to head through HOURS beforehand and bear in mind its arsenal and chelsea right before the game so pack it in early if you wanna go.

      • Tom
        November 28, 2009

        Cool, thanks Andrew. Any other recommendations outside of Nevadas?

  7. PM
    November 28, 2009


    Any chance we are going to see this lineup?
    Putting Keita in midfield has made us defensively better. But Iniesta Keita in the left side makes that wing kind of impotent.
    Maybe front 3 will be iniesta-ibra-henry. I don’t think Pedro is going to start before Henry. Henry is a better player in these kind of matches.

    • Kxevin
      November 28, 2009

      I would do:

      Alves Pique Puyol Abidal
      The Yaya Xavi Iniesta
      Pedro! Ibra Henry

      P! is playing too well right now not to have him out there.

      My other part wants to roll out the Inter starting XI. They earned it.

      BarcaTV is re-running a show on Terry Venables and his system. Fascinating.

      • PM
        November 28, 2009

        I don’t see Pep resting Messi. If he was fit for Inter then he should be roaring for tomorrow. Not that we need him to beat EE but it’s too big a occasion for someone like him willing to sit on the bench. My guess is that either Henry or P! isn’t starting tomorrow.

        Still not sure how keeping Keita out may affect us defensively.

  8. gv
    November 28, 2009

    anybody noticed that unlike our team last year, our players this season seems to talk a lot more. i thought pep had a strict rule about the team exposing themselves to the media? yes, winning the triplete, plus the two trophys this year gives us a reason to be proud of ourselves, but i hope we don’t become too cocky and overconfident. this could be also one reason why some of our players are being inconsistent.

    anyway, i woke up early today (5am) excited for the game, then i learn that the game’s tomorrow. damn!

    • Eklavya
      November 28, 2009

      I also thought the game is today! So annoying!!

  9. Tanuj Lakhina
    November 28, 2009

    Good to see two rival set of fans and bloggers interacting.. As for the game, myself being a Madrid fan (came here through Adams tweet) I agree with him entirely on how predictions are a stupid thing to do for derbies.. They have a flare and electric atmosphere which can’t match other games. El clasico is the supreme derby and can’t say what would happen. Our record and league position don’t matter when facing Barcelona. Likewise doesn’t matter if barca raped inter during the week. Am sure barca would have a lot of possession thus it makes it imperative that we take our chances. Would want to see Raul warm the bench in the beginning and later motivate the team when he comes on. He’s a captain true spirit to be honest. Only thing worrying me is how we don’t close games out. 1-0 is hard to maintain throughout especially with a flimsy defence like ours. Hope tomorrow serves a treat! Derby day beckons in England and Spain.

  10. PM
    November 28, 2009

    Isaiah must be in a freezer to cool down his head before the preview comes out 🙂

  11. November 28, 2009

    PM selection with Alves-Puyol-Pique and abidal behind is the best selection we have at the moment, as it starts all the players who are in form and at the same time have the big games experience. Unless if Henry really shows something extremely special in the training sessions.

    Iniesta has to operate the way he did against Inter as a free role player attacking existed spaces and creating more spaces for his teammates. Possession is really important against a direct team that can hurt through counter attacks.

    The only thing that will differ from Inter game is that against Inter we had Pedro and Alves on the flanks to open the field which served Iniesta to roam around. Without Pedro it will be trickier. Abidal, Keita, And Iniesta will have a secondary job-beside their original roles- to take turns contributing to open the left flank to balance it with Alves, Depending on who is available in due time. It requires lot of understanding but if it works it will be great.

    We can’t say we drew with Messi and Ibra against Bilbao, we won against Inter without them => the team is better without them. If Ibra and Messi played that game we would have seen even more goals. It was our game and our day against a team that was badly prepared and badly instructed. Messi and Ibra are our key players offense wise. They were, and still they are.

    • Rakka
      November 28, 2009

      Spot on Ramzi. I always wait your point of view.
      The rest -hopefully We’ll win it.

  12. Andrew M.
    November 28, 2009

    howcome Adam says metzelder is injured but includes him in his lineup?

    who else do they have to play CB?

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