Thursday, 6 August 2009

El Clasico: Personal Battles

by: hamad ali

Last week, published an article about the coming clasico and who has the better line-up. so I couldn't avoid the temptation to write an article about it myself.

We start this clash from the back. Now I really want to say Valdes with all my heart but life is cruel. If there is one madridista that wins at least 75% of his comparisons with other keepers it's Iker. Now I’m not saying that V.V is bad keeper. On the contrary, I wouldn't trade Valdes with any goal keeper in the world just for the fact that he's Catalan and that he's the best in the world (yes the best in the world) in one on ones. But never the less Casillas wins this battle. So it's Barca 0 - 1 Madrid.

Two of the greatest right backs in the world. Let's start with Ramos. When a defender is 6ft tall you assume that we're talking about a centre back with no pace but that’s not the case with Sergio. At 1.83 cm tall he has the pace of a B.M.W and the build of an ox. A build perfect for a defender and he scores goals too. But what about Alves. He doesn’t have the height or the strength of Ramos. But what he lacks in height . He makes up for it with pace, Shots, Assists, Free kicks, Stamina, Crosses, Goals and I can keep going forever. So what’s a B.M.W compared with a Bugatti Veyron. It's not just speed, But assists too. The fact that he comes behind iniesta in assists says it all . So in short , In build Ramos wins. In goal scoring it's a tie (5 goals each last season). In speed its alves. In assists it's alves (14 alves - 2 Ramos). In stamina it's alves. In technique its alves. In defending it's Ramos. So in the end, Alves wins. Barca 1 - 1 Madrid.

Experience vs. potential. the poor kid comes against the heart and pride of the Catalans. Probably the best defender in Barcelona's history. Whether or not Albiol can achieve the heights of Puyol remains to be seen but right now there's one clear winner. Based on titles and leadership captain brave heart wins the battle. Barca 2 - 1 Madrid.

Gerard Pique was one of the biggest surprises last season . Performing like a player with a Puyol like experience just at the age of 22. Although Pepe is a good defender. But Pique performed better than he did the past season. Plus they both have something in common. They both snap, Though in a different way. When Pique snaps he goes forward in a Beckenbauer style run and helps his team mates and off the pitch he plays a prank on some poor victim. But when Pepe snaps he kicks the living hell out of a helpless player. Even Iker said while pushing him off the pitch "you’re a disgrace to this shirt ". So Barca 3 - 1 Madrid.

Now I know people will say I should have used Maxwell but I didn’t for two reasons : 1- I don't think that pep would start with two attacking fullbacks 2- I haven’t seen many matches of Maxwell and I can't base my judgment on YouTube where Florentino Perez would look like a Ballon d'Or winner. Marcelo is good attacking fullback at most but if Dani gets criticized for his defending then the word defence doesn't exist in Marcelo's dictionary. I’ve seen Higuan do more defending then he did. His technique is unquestionable. His crosses land more on the crowd than on players heads. While Abidal isn't perfect but still he provides defensive balance and height to stop aerial threats. Barca 4 - 1 Madrid.

Probably Madrid’s best player last season . But when your entire team is down and you’re a new arrival you'd look great. Our players ran all over Madrid’s pitch while he couldn’t do a thing . I know some would say it's a bit harsh when I judge a player because he couldn't stop Xavi and co. But didn't Yaya stop the entire Chelsea midfield all by himself . Players like Lampard, Ballack, Essien and Obi Mikel. Why? Because he's (Yaya) the best DM in the world . Barca 5 - 1 Madrid.

Best player in EURO 2008 . Man of the match in the UCL final and the EURO final. Top assists in the league. 4 assists in el clasico and the list goes on. Now Alonso is world class and no one can deny it but until he achives the above mentioned, he's no better than Xavi. The winner is crystal clear. Barca 6 - 1 Madrid.

Both are decisive. both are important players if fit. Robben is faster. Iniesta is more technical. the difference? Iniesta is a team player and has better vision and passing. So Don Andres wins. Barca 7 - 1 Madrid.

As much as I like Henry, This battle has one clear winner. Even though Henry was great last season, He's no longer the Henry of Arsenal. And while Kaka did nothing great last season he still has a couple of years left in him. So when it's Henry vs. the ex- ballon d'Or winner (hopefully for the last time), it's Kaka. Barca 7 - 2 Madrid.

The battle of potential vs. proven ability. I for one was never convinced with Benzema's ability. 15 goals in the French league doesn't equal 25 in the Italian league. Say what you want about Ibra's Europe record but would Drogba, Toni and any other striker score 25 goals with no real playmaker in their teams? At least Benzema had Juninho. And i've never seen someone flop so badly in the french shirt like Benzema did in Euro 2008. His price dropping after that from 100 mil to 40 mil and I still think it's too much . So when it comes to Ibra vs. Benzema, Ibra is the clear winner. Barca 8 - 2 Madrid.

As my friend B4L said, it's the clash of the titans. As much as I hate this but let’s give credit where it's due . He might be arrogant but he's world class. Amazing skill, super fast feet, lightning speed. And his famous 41 goals season. And then you have Messi the undisputed number one. I don't know what to say about him that hasn't been said. The rightful heir to Maradona's throne. Scoring 38 goals last season. People say that Ronaldo scored more goals. Then let me ask you this. Did Ronaldo share his penalties with Rooney just as Messi did with Eto'o? No. Ronaldo scored at least 8 penalties out of 10. While Messi scored 3 out of 5, While Eto'o scored 2 out of 4. Let's give Rooney just three of Ronaldo's penalties. Guess what? 38 goals just like Messi. And while Messi gave an amazing 18 assists, Ronaldo gave a measly 8. So Messi is the better team player. Messi vs. Ronaldo, Messi is the winner. Barca 9 - 2 Madrid.

So there you have it: a 9-2 advantage. Your opinions matter, tell me what you think.


Anonymous said...

I agree in lots of your positions.

I do think that Pepe would win the battle over Pique at this point - but in the future Pique will be better.

So 8-3 is more the picture, i guess.

JR said...

It's funny how many journalists think Pellegrini will suddenly change his 4-4-2 system and play with just Benzema upfront. Also funny how most journalists seem to think Raul will be benched. He's untouchable over there.

Anonymous said...

Pique vs Albiol and Puyol vs Pepe.

koko=barca said...

Pepe had one great game and it was against Ronnie(the lazy one). He is nowhere near a world class defender. Pique is not there yet but he will be. I like what you said about Yaya. Punch in the face for some guys on this forum. Yaya is the best DMC in the world. He already surpassed Essien and co.
And I don't believe Robben will play in this formation. Raul will be there instead of him. at least at the start of season

Kxevin said...

I'd note that Kaka isn't the Kaka of old, either. And check the archives for the last time that Kaka tracked back on defense, and battled for balls in the midfield, as Henry does.

Both are diminished. Kaka has pace, but Henry has more. But at the bottom of it all, the Kaka analog is more Iniesta, for the position that both play for their sides. Henry's more accurate analog is Robben.

That is, unless Pellegrini is going to use Kaka as a second striker, and I still like Henry in that comparison.

But either way you dice it, we come out on top. I only wish it were as simple as that. :D

Positionally we stack up better, but if you start parsing the clubs by how they will oppose each other on the pitch, it really starts to get interesting. It's also where the value of Yaya as destroyer really comes into play.

Kaka doesn't like being played closely or with lots of ball pressure, so you could see Guardiola opting for Yaya and Keita to keep the middle tight, with the more attacking option of Maxwell to keep their winger honest.

Can't wait for the first Clasico. I intend to be there. A lot also depends on whether Pellegrini has the stones to sit Raul. He took care of Riquelme, so you never know.

SimonP said...

I don't think anyone know how Real will play next season except Pellegrini right now. Much depends on who they sell.

If you buy a player for 30M+ I guess he are going to play. Then there is Casillas, Ramos, Pepe (30M buy), Lass (the new Makelele according to Madridistas), Robben, Higuain (best goalscorer) and Raúl the captain.

Playing with Benz and Raúl probably means Kaká will play on one of the flanks, Pellegrini is a huge fan of doble pivotes. How will that work out? It still means Robben and Higuain get to warm the bench next season.

And what about van Nistelrooy, Sneijder, Arbeloa, Metzelder etc. etc. The list goes on, I wonder how much they pay in salaries every year. It must be huge.

HOSNI said...

you cant compare two teams through a one vs one analysis, the most important thing is how these players play togetter and i think madrid will have a serious problem this year : the team wont be balanced , if buying half a team the same season was a solution chelsea would have won the CL ;you cant just bring 6 or 7 seven new players to the regular starting eleven and ask them to do the job, but this is "don floren" style

Anonymous said...

i think this player to player comparison was invented by to just show something different.. it really doesn't matter.. leaving aside Barca, Real will win against every team in such a battle.. but does that mean they will be the second most successful team?? i dnt think so..
there are at least 2 more players to consider: the coach and his relationship with players and the teamwork of the players

Anonymous said...

last time i looked, football was a team game; so this comparison is relatively worthless imo.

Etsp said...

9-2 you say? I'm hoping for those numbers in Nou Camp this season :)

MiDO H. said...

hamad ali,
nice article and i couldnt agree more exept i see pique and pepe equal and messi and ronaldo equal too ( no hard feelings) althought im a Cule myself.

but u forgot one important comparasion:
Pep Guardiola Vs Manuel Pellegurini

wich Pep would win even if blindfoolded :D

Visca Catalunya !

Anonymous said...

Pep, any updates on Mata or Chyhrynskiy saga???

skanjos said...

great analysis spot on on every position.henry last year was awesome but hes one year older now,i think pedro will one day be our first team LW ,we also have cover in iniesta/bojan/jefreen.

the position we are in desperate need of a player is the AMC one,if xavi gets injured we are gonna be alot worse,yeah messi can play amc ,he is the worlds best but sorry not on that position ,xavi there is ages ahead of messi,messi will get there in time thought.a very good cheap choice was nakamura ,he is old enough,well expirienced,awesome vision,and a killer free kick,this guy is so underatted ,he has the best left foot in the world (beckham still has the best right,hes way better than juninho...),the bad news he went to espanyol(already played great in the liverpool game).i cant think another 28-32 year old playmaker that would sit on bench and is on barca quality,we can go for younger player like hernanes but i havent seen him much and cant say for sure(would love a riquelme return {before the world cup he will play amazingly,he is also playing great})

also i dont think we need a CB most of our youth are excellent(muniesa/fontas)and we have other 4 players what more you need?(henrique,puyol,marquez,pique)i dont count milito sorry but i dont think he will recover soon.

Poland said...

No Marcelo, but Arbeloa, man ;]

barca4life said...

Nice article. I've been saying this for a while without going into as much detail that both individually and as a team barca's starting lineup is stronger than real madrid's. The problem is real madrid has a better bench.

koko=barca said...

Real have a better bench for now. a lot of guys are expected to leave so we will see than. Huntelaar already left, VDV, robben, are next.

John-Reid said...

Very good article. I agree completely, but i don't think it will be as easy as 9-2. Even though we have the best team, Real still have a very good team. They will be a challenge.

One on one, our players win. Team vs team, we still win, but it will be a hard battle.

barca nike said...

nice article i agree with all of it

sho said...

I hope those who are saying this piece is pointless read the topic
"El Clasico Clasico: Personal Battles"

groga said...

Life is pointless! But it's fun nonetheless. Like this piece... ;)

I kind of agree, just want to add that Pepe must be the most overrated defender at this moment. In the CL you clearly see he's not anywhere near top-level, in the Liga he get protected by the referees, otherwise he should have at least have five red cards and cause ten penalties a season.

And what happened to Sergio Ramos? One year ago, many doubted between him and Dani Alves, Milan wanted him for an insane fee, but today he just seems an ordinary defender. Too much party or what?

Still very curious to see Madrid in action when they have their team in place. Don't see things clear at this moment, but should be interesting.

MAX10 said...

If this is the formation Real is going to play, that's dumb. Granero is a way better player than Gago/Diarra. But, it's pretty clear that Barcelona owns Real at every positions, even in the goal. Valdés equals Casillas, and then you have to look to the substitutes. Dudek < Pinto and the newly promoted RM goalie Antonio Adán is waaaay worse then Oier and Miño. So, OWNED

Eladir said...

Haha, you are way too objective on your judgements.

refter said...

Dudek is still there? Thought he was end of contract. They renewed him? If so: LOL!

barcatillidie said...

i agree 100% with this

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

you're very objective here on Barca's page,no??:D OMG how can you say Pepe is worse than Pique???

Anonymous said...

Not even the most diehard Madridistas would dare to say that "messi and ronaldo are equal" !!

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