La Liga Goes On
By Juan Yoshika
In case you haven’t heard about it, there was a Clásico last Sunday. There were three penalty kicks; Messi scored a hat-trick; Sergio Ramos was sent off; Busquets stamped on Pepe; and Barcelona won three points to position themselves just a single point behind Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
As great the game was, it is time to move on. For those of you who follow La Liga, stay put because you are in for a ride. There are only nine games left, and the cherry on top will be the last game with Barcelona playing against Atletico Madrid.
A lot can happen between now and then, let’s just remember that Cules (Barcelona’s fans) and Colchoneros (Atletico’s fans) are friendly toward each other, but it is important to know if this relationship will still be a friendly one after their teams meet in the Champions League’s quarter-final.
After El Clásico, Barcelona’s morale is through the roof. Not only did they beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Messi got to score a hat-trick, and when everybody thought they were dead, they came back to life like a phoenix.
Some of the Barcelona players have come out and said that we shouldn’t doubt them and what they can do. I beg to differ. The team I saw previously against Valladolid was not this team, and the team I saw against Valencia was not this team. And even though they won against the almighty Real Madrid, this Barcelona needs to sign at least four new players for next season.
Real Madrid lost against Barcelona because they thought they had won this game way before Sunday. Most of the football shows in Spain--dominated by Real Madrid fans that happen to be journalists--were predicting a game in favor of Real Madrid.
I think this feeling was passed to the team, and one thing you can not do is leave Barcelona for dead. After the game Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo came out speaking against the referee, because they couldn’t accept that the team they had underestimated had won fair and square, and perhaps the referee’s biggest mistake was to charge a penalty kick in favor of Real Madrid that was outside the box.
But this is football, and mistakes happen. Now both teams will face each other again in the final game of the Copa Del Rey, and if they both make it to the semifinals they could see each other in the Champions League. So we have not seen the last Clásico this season.
Finally, Atletico Madrid--the dark horse in the race--has taken the lead. Who would have thought? What Diego Simeone has done with this team is a real Cinderella story.
If you look at their starting 11 they don’t have a player with the star power of those in Barcelona or Real Madrid, but they have done a season that could embarrass even the best players. It is hard to think that this team will remain intact for next season, so I am sure by the end of season they'll leave everything on the pitch.
El Clásico was an exciting, passionate game of football, but La Liga goes on. There are nine more games until the end of the season. Only one team can win, and we have three different contenders to the title. Keep watching folks, the best is yet to come.