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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


The First Clásico Of The Season – Seven Thoughts On Barcelona And Real Madrid

Written by on October 27, 2013 | 9 Comments »
Posted in Barcelona, Real Madrid

Lead-up and line-ups

Both teams went into this game with new coaches and new signings. What wasn’t new was the expectations and hype.

To date Barcelona had negotiated the transition to Gerardo Martino with greater success than that of Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti.

Barcelona dropped their first league points in nine games last weekend in a scoreless draw away to Osasuna.  

Real Madrid was three points behind Barcelona after a 2-2 draw with Villarreal and a 1-0 derby loss to Atletico Madrid.

Real Madrid went into the game looking for a third consecutive clasico win, something they had not done in 34 years.

Of Real Madrid’s three big summer signings only Gareth Bale made…to read more please click on the link.

9 responses to “The First Clásico Of The Season – Seven Thoughts On Barcelona And Real Madrid”

  1. John Bladen says:

    It pains me to say it…. but… absolute penalty on CR.

    Who says reputations mean nothing in world football?

  2. Astronomer says:

    Much of what I am saying below is a re-hash of what I said in a response to a Michelle Ackermann post on a Barcelona-PSG exhibition match in early August, 2012.

    In terms of tactical nous and overall managerial ability, the post-Milan Carlo Ancelotti is a pale shadow of his former self.

    I am not sure what exactly happened when he moved to Chelsea, but this “new” post-Milan Ancelotti makes too many team selection errors and tactical mistakes in big matches. In addition, his teams (first Chelsea, then PSG, and now Real Madrid) did not/do not exhibit the defensive solidity that characterized his Milan teams.

    Yes, he did win the double with Chelsea the first year, but made a meek exit in the CL (losing both legs to Jose Mourinho’s Inter).

    The following year he did not win anything domestically and again made an equally meek exit in the knockout rounds of the CL (again losing both legs, this time to Alejandro’s Man Ure).

    Then, of course, he got unceremoniously fired the last day of the season.

    Then he went to PSG halfway into the 2011-2012 season as a successor to Antoine Kombuare (spelling?) and in spite of all the stellar signings failed to win the league that year. He did win the league this past season, but PSG’s performances were not particularly impressive, given the huge difference in talent between that side and the other teams in the league. In the CL, PSG were eliminated in the quarter-final stage.

    Now of course he is at Real Madrid. I would not be be surprised one bit if Real Madrid ends up third in La Liga behind Barcelona and Athletico Madrid.

    I am very sure about the following, though:

    Real Madrid will NOT win “la decima” in the CL with this post-Milan Carlo Ancelotti as their gaffer.


  3. smiley says:

    “Real Madrid will NOT win “la decima” in the CL with this post-Milan Carlo Ancelotti as their gaffer.”


  4. Astronomer says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    We will see whose expectation/prediction turns out to be “utter nonsense.”


  5. We will likely find out in no more than 2 years because that is all the time that Ancelotti can expect at Real Madrid. That is my under/over.

  6. Smiley says:

    I agree with the 2 yr over/under assessment (which is also relevant to 75% of Real’s foreign transfer buys – including Bale) but to say Carlo lacks the nous in Europe to lead Real to the 10th is foolish.

  7. Astronomer says:

    Carlo Ancelotti’s track record in his post-Milan career (with Chelsea and PSG — and especially, the former) in the CL raises big red flags.

    In addition, given the current strengths of rivals, like Bayern, Dortmund, Barcelona, and even the Mourinho-inspired Chelsea, I think it is highly unlikely for Real Madrid to win the CL.

    Maybe if they managed to sign Falcao or Suarez, their chances might improve somewhat (either one of them is a distinct improvement over Karim Benzema).

    But, as I have said before and I will say again, this is the post-Milan Ancelotti we are talking about here.


  8. Ed Gomes says:

    Real needs at the very least, the perception of Silverware. As long as stars want to go and the money flows, it’s all good.
    I might agree on the 2 year over/under, but I just might take the under. Peligrini got sacked after earning a new point record in La Liga but finishing second. Granted Mourinho was lurking at that point.

    As for the match, I actually like to watch a more attacking Barca. I just wonder how long before Messi starts mopping.

    Yes it was a clear penalty on Cristiano. Most troubling is that it was a clear penalty. No matter the angle, ref or line judge should have seen it. Maybe they weren’t watching.

    By the way all of Portugal is up in arms due to Blatter’s comments about Messi and Cristiano. I find it funny that Messi has always gotten a pass when he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to teammates, especially forwards. By all accounts teammates have always praised Cristiano’s work ethic. I still remember Kaka stating that Cristiano was the first player to ever ask him to stay after training in order for them to discuss each others tendency’s and preferences when it came to on the field play. Cristiano has quietly donated a lot of money charity and causes. Not saying Nessi hasn’t, but don’t dismiss one or the other.

    Besides MLB, FIFA might be the only sport not to promote its stars. The clubs do, but FIFA will always be about FIFA.

  9. I wonder if Sepp was offered a world player of the year nomination in exchange for banishment to a secret island somewhere would he take the deal?

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