Friday, 1 May 2009

Spain gears up for El Clasico

It is the game that everyone in Spain - and many people across the world – looks forward to most.

Spain’s two biggest clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, lock horns again this weekend in a clash commonly known as El Clasico.

There is much more than just points at stake though as history, politics and football all entwine both clubs. For the Catalan people, Barca symbolises their resistance against the repression imposed on them by General Franco - who was closely liked with Real Madrid - after the civil war.

Though the days of government repression may have passed the memories have not faded in the eyes of the fans and Barca supporters still fiercely defend their Catalan independence. These political, social and cultural aspects make for fantastic football full of passion, commitment and no little skill.

But this encounter will be even more passionate than usual given the state of the La Liga title race. Real lie just four points off leaders Barca and a win will blow the title race right open. A win for Barca though should seal the title for the Catalan club with only four more fixtures to come.
Pep Guardiola’s side seemed nailed on for the league a few months ago but slowly but surely Real, resurgent under former Spurs boss Juande Ramos, have chipped away at Barca’s lead. Since the last meeting between the two sides they have collected 52 points from a possible 54 and won a record eight away games in a row.

The effects of a long season meanwhile look to be......

Read the rest of my guest blog over at Soccer City FC.

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