Five footballers who best lived upto the weight of EL CLASICO

Rishav Roy  |  El Clasico  |  1 Month Ago

In a span of just a week’s time, Barcelona drubbed Real Madrid twice as they went on to defeat Madrid in their return-leg fixture of La Liga at Santiago Bernabeu. With nine points clear from their arch-rivals, Ivan Rakitic’s ingenious goal made all the difference between a technically superior Barcelona and a scrappy host, who’s best bet was their custodian, Thibaut Courtois. With this loss at the hands of the Catalans, Real is now twelve points adrift of table-toppers Barca and stay cemented in the third position with 48 points in their repertoire. We will now take a look at five players who made a significant difference to the game:


Thibaut Courtois


Courtois was summoned for the first time in the 15th minute when the towering custodian dived to his right to deny Suarez’s meaty shot. Though later Suarez was adjudged to be off-side, Courtois ensured that things do not unfold easily. Within a succession of 4 minutes, the Real custodian again came out to the deliverance of his team, paring down the angle for Messi, whose hurried lob sailed over. In the dying embers of the first-half, Courtois dived to his left to parry a powerful shot from Suarez within point-blank range thereby keeping the scores locked at an impasse. Barring these three notable occasions, the Belgian goalie’s sweeping presence in the Real penalty-box, snuffed out quite a few opportunities for a formidable Barcelona. Despite letting his guard down in front of an ingenious Rakitic, Courtois left the field with his head held high.


Sergio Reguilon


In a night where the majority of the Madrid players failed to shine, an academy graduate, Reguilon maintained a good defensive record by stopping some good runs by Messi. Reguilon rotated his defensive and offensive abilities frequently with tenacity and pace. He combined with Vinicius during his overlapping runs providing much width to the attack. The youngster proved his worth for yet another big match after being promoted into the senior team following a loss of form by Marcelo. He was involved in quite a few crosses that could have seen the scores tipping in favour of the hosts, but the profligacy up front led the hosts down.

Gerard Pique


The man whose failure in the World Cup left Spain reeling from a shocking exit at the hands of Russia, played an instrumental role in Barcelona’s defensive third to ensure full points in the El Clasico. Combining well with Lenglet, Pique put a spanner in the plans of Real Madrid. After taking down Karim Benzema on a couple of occasions, stealing away his sitters in more than three situations, Pique took the attacking force of Real head-on. His opportune tackles and aerial lunges, never really allowed Real Madrid to create something definite for themselves.


Lionel Messi


Touted as the Football God by millions, the Argentine talisman once again proved it to the football community that why he is one of the best footballers to grace the planet. Consistently playing as an attacking midfielder, Messi kept the Real defence on their toes. Magical footwork, low drilling at the face of the goal and consistent distribution of passes to either flank saw Barcelona flapping their wings majestically.

Ivan Rakitic


It was a perfect night for the Croatian midfielder as he ran rings around his Croatian comrade, Luka Modric and company in the midfield along with Dembele and Messi. Rakitic scored the only goal of the match, which came from a delightful chip over Courtois' head. After playing a quick one-two with Sergi Roberto, Rakitic sped into the box to receive the return ball and dinked the ball over an onrushing Courtois. He exhibited searing speed throughout the match, linking up the attack and defence and played a crucial role just ahead of Busquets in nullifying a few coups of Real. A complete player for Barcelona to say the least, Rakitic thoroughly deserved to be the man of the match.


A couple of notable mentions that also tipped the scales of the game are the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos’ impetuousness. The departure of the Portuguese striker has left an eternal void in the striking force of Real who is still to locate a player who is near CR7’s stature to fire the balls home. Ramos seemed extremely helpless in front of a cruising Barcelona and had to commit the ugliest of fouls to keep the scoreline respectable.


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