El Clásico

Football games don’t get any bigger than El Clásico. Come the 2nd April, an estimated 500 million people worldwide will be watching the action at the Camp Nou as FC Barcelona entertain their eternal rivals Real Madrid in a battle of the two biggest teams in the world.

 

 
Results have been decidedly one-sided as of late, with Barcelona’s deadly strike force overshadowing Los Merengues forward line of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. The last El Clásico at the Santiago Bernabéu in November saw Barcelona run out 4-0 winners despite Lionel Messi starting on the bench due to injury. Midfield maestro Andres Iniesta scored the pick of the goals in a demolition that proved to be the beginning of the end for then Madrid manager Rafa Benitez.

 

 

Image courtesy of spokesman.com

Enter Zinedine Zidane. As Madrid’s eleventh manager in twelve years, the club legend will look to take inspiration from Real’s last victory in the league over Barcelona. Powered by goals from Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema, Madrid took all three points with a comprehensive 3-1 home victory in October 2014. Zidane featured in that match, not as a player, but on Real’s bench as assistant manager alongside then-coach Carlo Ancelotti. With that in mind, the argument could be made that the World Cup-winning Frenchman couldn’t be better placed to mastermind a win at the home of the runaway league leaders.
But despite the managerial change, all is not well in the Spanish capital. With the team languishing in third place and their title hopes all but extinguished, Real supporters have been noticeably unruly as of late. Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s all-time leading scorer, was subjected to jeers from the Bernabéu faithful during the course of their recent Champions League victory over Roma, proving that no player is immune from reproach. The Portuguese player himself has been somewhat vocal in his criticism of the team, with the former Manchester United star recently quoted as saying that if all his team-mates were at his level Real would be top of La Liga. Though he insists he was misquoted, you can’t help but get the feeling that Real might be better served playing away from Madrid.

 

Image courtesy of metro.co.uk

That’s until you remember that the spotlight is just as bright in Barcelona. The Catalans are making a serious argument for being the best team in history, with the club as of writing currently in the midst of a record-equalling unbeaten streak of 35 games. Lionel Messi has been in typically stunning form, with the Ballon d’Or winner excelling alongside the free-
scoring combo of Neymar and Suarez. Unsung heroes like Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano continue to provide a rock solid foundation at the back, whilst manager Luis Enrique is still able to call on the likes of Turkish midfielder Arda Turan, former Sevilla winger Aleix Vidal and up-and-coming Spanish star Munir all from the bench.

 

Image courtesy of bloomberg.com

With all that said, it’ll certainly be a tough ask for Madrid to come away with three points from the Camp Nou. But you can rest assured that they’ll make it as difficult as possible for Barcelona to further stretch their lead atop the league table. With the talent involved, we’re expecting a corker.

 

Victor Picks

 

Hotel Arts Barcelona:

Image courtesy of Hotel Arts Barcelona

Judged by Conde Nast as the Best City Hotel in Spain 2015, the luxurious 5* hotel boasts spectacular views of the city and waterfront. Location is one of the hotel’s strong points, as you’ll find yourself a moment’s stroll from the bustling city centre and only a fifteen minute drive from Barcelona International Airport.

 

Gorria Restaurante:

Image courtesy of Gorria Restaurante

Since 1977 the restaurant has specialised in authentic Basque cuisine from the mountains of Navarre, complemented by an extensive selection of wines ranging from Riojas to sparkling Txakolis from the coast. The restaurant is very much a family affair, with Javier Gorría continuing the work of his father, the acclaimed Basque chef Fermin Gorría.

 

Solange:

Image courtesy of Solange Cocktail

Once the site of Harry’s Bar, now home to Barcelona’s best cocktail bar, Solange is the epitome of cool. Newcomers will find it hard not be left impressed by the bar’s stylish interior, whilst an ever-changing cocktail menu ensures regular patrons will always have a reason to return.

 

 


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*Feature image courtesy of zimbio.com

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