Barcelona defeats Real

Goals.  Everywhere.  Across the entirety of the globe.  Defenders and keepers alike will be hoping to put this weekend of fixtures in the rearview as quickly as possible.  Nowhere was the lack of defending more prominent than at El Clasico, where Barcelona absolutely destroyed Real Madrid and sent the soccer world alight.  Is the story more about Barcelona’s continued success with Messi off the pitch, OR should the focus be on a Real Madrid squad that, despite an enormous amount of talent and firepower, just isn’t getting the job done.

For us, we’ve been seeing Barcelona succeed sans-Messi for weeks now.  The focus sits firmly with Madrid, and a growing list of issues falling at the feet of Real.

While most of the world is totally focused on Rafa Benitez, it amazes us that anyone could be surprised at Benitez being unable to make Madrid the top dog in Spain.  The main issue, for anyone concerned about the longevity of this club, has to be how many of its stars are being heavily linked with moves away from the Bernabeu.  Bale, CR7, Ramos, Benzema, and nearly every youth product that Madrid fields is being majorly linked with other clubs.  Ronaldo feels like he has, at most, one more full season with Madrid, Bale seems incapable of stringing together consistent performances and ever looking comfortable in the famous kit, and a club that usually is responsible for snagging stars from other clubs suddenly feels ready to be picked clean by others.  Add in that the core of this group is made up of players all over the age of 28, and it will be tough to not take advantage of any major transfer fees that would come in for these players.

Another issue is how incapable this Madrid team seems of dropping back to defend.  Every Barcelona goal came from the prolific attackers of Barcelona having to only deal with two/three defenders on any given attack.  The only goal where there happened to be even ONE midfielder close to the 18 yard box was on Iniesta’s goal, and the midfielders still seemed uninterested in closing a player down.  If you are going to create a team where the outside backs constantly bomb forward, your midfielders and attackers are pushing farther and farther into the attack, and you need two defenders to stop Suarez/Neymar, you are going to have a bad day.  Isco, Ronaldo, Bale, and Kroos never look like defending, so victory is only going to come if you are scoring 4 or 5 a game.  Fix the defending, fix the biggest issue.

Although he isn’t their biggest issue, Benitez is something that does need to be addressed.  Benitez has been failing up, spectacularly, for the last decade.  After his success in the early 2000’s, the Spaniard’s trophy haul has been largely lackluster.  While it did seem like he was involved with the revitalization of Napoli, it was merely the same situation where he had found success before: get handed a squad already either capable of major success or on the verge of success.  Despite their incredibly impressive roster, they will need more than what Benitez has on offer.  It’s not quite obvious what exists out there that would be an improvement, but Rafa isn’t the route to success for Madrid.

Despite the issues feeling easy to point out, it is only November.  Real is still in the Champions League and there is still plenty of time to regroup before the next meeting with Barcelona, so the season is far from being ruined.  The biggest fear for Real is that this might not be the strongest possible 11 from Barcelona.  Whenever you get trounced as a club’s best player looks on from the sidelines, it doesn’t bode too well for future fixtures.  Last random thought: does the success without Messi make it even the slightest bit plausible to sell him for a crazy transfer fee?

Is it time to bury Madrid?  Or, is this just a blip on the radar?  Bigger win for Barcelona?  Or, a bigger loss for Madrid?


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