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Liga – Post-traumatic shock: after the Clasico, La Liga relaunched?

There are nights that are harder to get through than others. For Xavi Hernandez, that of December 8 to 9, 2021 had not been easy. Dominated in all areas of the game by an authoritarian Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena (3-0), Barça said goodbye to the Champions League 2021-2022 by being eliminated from the C1 in the group stage, a first since the 2000-2001 season. The beginning of the end ? No, rather the end of an already long enough ordeal for a club of this caliber. Conversely, the night of Sunday March 20 to Monday March 21, 2022 allowed Barcelona members to sleep soundly and attack the week with a smile on their face. The reason ? A resounding victory at the Santiago-Bernabéu against Real Madrid undefeated for over a year at home in the league (0-4).

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Xavi: “We have to keep winning”

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Four goals scored, none conceded, twice as many shots on target as his opponent and an invincibility extended to three months and fourteen days. At a time when Barça is preparing to receive FC Sevilla, dolphin of Real, the state of form in which the Blaugrana collective finds itself is close to perfection. “Maybe we can say that Barça came backeven dared Xavi after the last Clásico. This is the model, the game idea of ​​​​Barça to fight. We have very good technical players who understand the game. Those who couldn’t play it are integrating very well now. We want solidarity, work and mutual aid. We are a family in the locker room, it is fundamental. If we play like this, we can compete.” To the point of closing its 12-point deficit on Real Madrid?

“It’s difficultanalyzes Xavi. I think the same as before this Clásico. We won and we are leading on the particular goal average, it may matter. But it is difficult. Real Madrid have only three defeats. I see that complicated, but it is not a hypothesis to rule out. We have to keep winning.” Sunday evening, a victory against the Sevillians at the Camp Nou would allow Barça to sit in the place of runner-up to Real at first. Then, a success in their late game at home against Rayo Vallecano on April 24 and Barca would return to at least (depending on Real’s results over the period) nine units of Los Blancos. Imagine three defeats for Real in nine days with the two Sevillian clubs and Atlético de Madrid to play, would it be such an improbable scenario?

The weight of the Clasico

The other argument to take into account to consider that La Liga is not yet played is to look at the impact of the Clásicos and to see to what extent these two meetings condition the outcome of the championship. Except last year when Atlético de Madrid won the title after a long distance duel with Real Madrid, the following three seasons are unanimous. In 2017-2018, Barça won the direct round-trip confrontation (3-0, 2-2) and won La Liga. In 2018-2019, Barça won both clashes (5-1, 1-0) and succeeded themselves. In 2019-2020, Real Madrid dominated the double confrontation (0-0, 2-0) and lifted the trophy in the midst of a global pandemic.

Over the last ten seasons, the 2012-2013 and 2016-2017 editions are the two exceptions where the Spanish champions lost in the Clásico double confrontation. Everything is not yet won for Barça, but there are reasons for hope to draw on Real’s XXL calendar. Still engaged in the Champions League, the White House will face Chelsea, defending champion, in a quarter-final that looks like a final before the letter. With 13 big-eared cups attached to their prestigious track record, Real Madrid will certainly not tarnish the queen of European competitions. For its part, Barça is a legitimate contender for the final victory in the Europa League but the less flashy status of its opponents and the depth of the Barcelona bench linked to a flourishing Catalan winter transfer window should allow Xavi a better rotation of its workforce.

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Real Madrid, Valdano and demons of Tenerife

If Barca manage to halve the current points gap with their eternal rivals by the start of May, Real Madrid could start thinking. With a La Liga to win on the thirty-eighth and final day, Real would even plunge back into their worst nightmares. In 1991-1992 and 1992-1993, the merengue team was each time in a favorable position to win the championship. Only one condition: to win on the lawn of the Heliodoro Rodríguez López stadium, owned by CD Tenerife. The mission seemed accessible on paper but in fact, the people of Madrid left the Canary Islands without the title of Spanish champion, leaving Barça the opportunity to win two consecutive trophies at the buzzer.

Executioner of Real as coach of Tenerife, Jorge Valdano still remembers the course of an incredible comeback engraved in the history of La Liga. “I had started training Tenerife ten days before the end of the championshiprewinds the Real striker between 1984 and 1987. People don’t remember it but before winning against Real, we had won against FC Barcelona six days before the end of the championship. After the match, Ramón Mendoza (president of Real Madrid from 1985 to 1995, editor’s note) called me to thank me for giving them the title. The concern is that from then on, Barça only won and Real lost. The same day Mendoza called me, Real lost.” Florentino Pérez has been warned: in the event of Barça’s poor performance in this final sprint, the phone will have to be left alone. During the thirty-eighth day at Santiago-Bernabéu against Real Betis Balompié, tasting another disillusion twenty years after the tragedy in Tenerife would have a particularly bitter flavor.

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