SportsA mid-season classic

A mid-season classic


Busquets and Kroos, in last season’s classic in Valdebebas.JuanJo Martín (EFE)

The classic does not escape the halftime that football lives, expectant with the changes that are being discussed in the world and for the fight for power, always pending of Barça-Madrid. Barcelona goes to the game for the first time without Messi and Madrid also does not have Sergio Ramos after having lost Cristiano. The past is still present and the future is as interesting as it is uncertain because the players who symbolize tomorrow, Ansu Fati and Vinicius, are 18 and 21 years old, an age that reflects the rejuvenation of sports figures, also football and the classic of the Camp Nou (16.15, Movistar).

Although he boasts of a better present with players like Benzema, candidate for the Ballon d’Or, it seems as if Madrid will not be the Madrid that he wants to be until he signs Mbappé while Barça tells how much he can go into debt to sign a forward who if not It may be Haaland looks like the Borussia Dortmund striker. Both teams are equally unstable, separated by two points in favor of Madrid, which regained its self-esteem in Kiev after being embarrassed by the Sheriff and losing on Espanyol’s court. More irregular and less reliable is Barça due to the lack of a football plan that is reflected in the controversial continuity of Koeman.

“I don’t know if people distrust us; not us ”, argued the Barça coach. “And I do not need the president to support me every week because I also know that I depend on the results,” he continued. “We want to show that we are on the right track and that we are a good team,” he concluded, encouraged by the last two victories and also aware that the classic always leaves consequences on the benches at the Bernabéu and Camp Nou. Alba’s recovery will allow him to keep Dest as a winger and bet on Ansu. The unsuccessful experience against Bayern, when the team unsuccessfully sheltered with three centers, predicts that Koeman will not recover the 3-5-2 and will continue with the 4-3-3.

The absences of Pedri and Dembélé play in favor of Gavi in ​​a classic that will bring together eight debutants on the Barça side for three from Madrid: Memphis, Agüero, Luuk de Jong, Eric García, Demir, Gavi, Nico and Balde against Alaba, Camavinga and Miguel Gutiérrez. The Barcelona coach is concerned that his team is deep and effective in attack and is well organized in defense when he does not have the ball after he has not yet beaten any of the great rivals he has faced since the arrival of Koeman. The Dutchman feels that he needs to vindicate himself and knows that there is nothing more therapeutic for the culé fans than defeating Madrid, which is a more contrasted team with more decisive players, very comfortable also in their visits to the Camp Nou.

The madridistas have only lost one of the last eight games played at the Barça stadium and Ancelotti has also recovered Carvajal and Hazard. The doubt is precisely on the right side, as long as the coach does not grant ownership to Carvajal, and in the drawing provided by the coach: if he bets on a third forward like Rodrygo or opts for a fourth midfielder in which case Valverde could enter. Ancelotti, always respectful, does not dislike being asked about fear to differentiate it from fear – “if you are not afraid you confront the lion thinking it is a cat” – but rather he prefers to trust his team because “it is strong and has quality ”. Koeman, on the other hand, is more direct: “We will play without fear against Madrid.”

The coaches agree that there is no favorite, especially because sometimes the most needy team wins, and they do not pay attention to the statistics to suit the consumer: Ancelotti has never won at the Camp Nou and Koeman never surpassed the current Madrid coach. Ancelotti sponsors the best version of Vinicius and Koeman found in the quarry and Ansu Fati the argument to defend his work at such a critical moment that even the Camp Nou has an expiration date after the approval of Espai Barça. The assembly reinforced Laporta. The president will now meet with Florentino to talk about the future and the Super League. They both know that also in times of transition there is nothing better than winning the classic.

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