Clasico Thrashing Could Change Everything For Barca, Says Xavi


Barcelona’s Spanish coach Xavi gestures during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Xavi Hernandez said Barcelona’s 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid could be transformative for the club after their Clasico demolition at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Barcelona blew Madrid away as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice either side of goals from Ronald Araujo and Ferran Torres.

The match was billed as a test of Barca’s progress under Xavi and they passed with flying colours, a humiliation of their fiercest rivals suggesting they are primed to challenge again for La Liga next season.

“It can change the dynamics of the present and the future,” said Xavi. “We had lots of chances and we were much better than Madrid, far superior. We deserved to score so many goals.”

Asked if Barcelona are back, Xavi said: “It can be. This is the right path.”

And while the result might have little bearing on the title race this term, a defeat of this magnitude, at home, and against Barcelona, will cause serious reverberations at Real Madrid.

It will go down with other historic Clasico thrashings, like when Barca won 6-2 at Real Madrid in 2009 under Pep Guardiola or 5-0 at home two years later.

Questions will be asked about Carlo Ancelotti’s future, with Madrid outplayed tactically and technically by Xavi’s Barca, who were faster, slicker and, perhaps most worryingly, could easily have won by more.

“We played badly and I planned the game badly,” said Ancelotti. “I am sorry for the defeat and I am sad. But we have to keep it in perspective.”

READ ALSOAubameyang Scores Brace As Barcelona Humiliate Real Madrid


Barcelona’s Spanish forward Ferran Torres (R) celebrates with Barcelona’s Gabonese midfielder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele (C) after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Madrid were admittedly without the injured Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy while there could have been a degree of complacency, given they kicked off nine points clear at the top of the table after Sevilla were held to a goalless draw by Real Sociedad.

But none of that will excuse a loss as dramatic as this one, the only relief now that a resurgent Barcelona are still 12 points behind, albeit with a game in hand.

Aubameyang’s double means he now has nine goals in 11 games for Barcelona and the Gabon striker is looking like a superb January signing.

Pedri was outstanding again too — but this was a night for the bigger picture, as Barcelona’s revival made its biggest statement so far.

When Barca were beaten by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in January, the Catalans were criticised for celebrating the manner of their narrow defeat.

“We are getting closer,” said Gerard Pique.

After five consecutive losses to Madrid, a win of any kind was the next step for Barca but a hammering like this could be transformative, delivering a huge boost to confidence, vindication of Xavi’s project, and optimism for next season all in one fell swoop.

‘We Are Back’ 

Barcelona’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Shortly after the final whistle here, Pique tweeted: “We are back.”

Eder Militao clattered Pedri in the opening minute and that was about as close as Real Madrid got to him all game.

Soon, the chances started coming for Barca as Ferran Torres pulled back for Aubameyang but he scuffed straight at Thibaut Courtois, who then had to palm wide a curling effort from Ousmane Dembele.

Barca’s dominance was growing and in the 29th minute, they scored, Dembele racing round the outside of Nacho Fernandez and crossing for Aubameyang to head in.

Vinicius Junior might have changed the game if he had converted after being sent through but a heavy touch allowed Marc-Andre ter Stegen to save.

Instead, Barcelona doubled their lead when Ronald Araujo headed in from a corner before half-time and after it, the humiliation began.

David Alaba and Militao both committed themselves to sliding tackles and both missed, Aubameyang executing a superb flicked pass to Torres, who made no mistake.

Worse was to come, as Pique’s ball over the top allowed Aubameyang to scoop in a brilliant finish for a fourth in the 51st minute. Madrid thought they were spared by the offside flag but VAR intervened and the goal stood.

Aubameyang, Torres, and Dembele could all have furthered the embarrassment for Madrid, the latter poking wide after skipping in behind and holding off Militao.

By then, Aubameyang had gone off, the victory already complete and the stadium quickly emptying.

AFP

Clasico Demolition Vindicates Barcelona, Shifts Doubts To Real Madrid

Barcelona’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

A Clasico that was supposed to mean very little, in the end, meant an awful lot as Barcelona gave a resounding answer to questions about their revival and instead left Real Madrid shrouded in doubt.

Most believed there was no result on Sunday that could derail Madrid’s march to the La Liga title but even that feels less certain now. A defeat like this, 4-0 at home, and against Barcelona, was perhaps the only kind that might prompt a collapse.

In that regard, Madrid will be relieved, not only that Barca are still points 12 points adrift, albeit with a game in hand still to play, but that a two-week international break gives them some breathing space, time to stabilise and recover.

It will allow Karim Benzema time to recover too, with the Frenchman’s absence undoubtedly a factor in Madrid’s spinelessness against Barcelona, who took advantage to devastating effect.

Barca’s place in the top four is surely now secure, which will be celebrated by the club’s accountants as much as anyone else.

For all the excitement and enthusiasm generated by Xavi’s team on the pitch, the harsh reality is the club’s financial ills will take longer to cure. Only last week La Liga set Barcelona’s spending limit at -144 million euros.

READ ALSOAubameyang Scores Brace As Barcelona Humiliate Real Madrid

Barcelona’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP 

 

They will certainly believe second place is now a realistic target, particularly given Sevilla’s stuttering form.

They might even look at Madrid’s remaining fixtures to come against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano and wonder if the comeback could yet be on.

“If there is the slightest option to take advantage, we will go for it,” said Sergio Busquets.

More likely, though, is the consequences of this result for both clubs will be longer-term and wider-reaching.

As Barcelona celebrated at the full-time whistle, saluting their fans up in the highest corner of the Santiago Bernabeu, one or two of the younger players began to jump and dance. Before others could join, a huddle was formed and when the players emerged, it was noticeable the celebrations were more restrained.

As Xavi said after the match, it had been a statement victory, one that will go down with even the most dramatic Clasico hammerings, but the table alone shows there is more work to do.

“We have not won a trophy here,” said Xavi. “We must keep working with humility.”

Yet Gerard Pique, never one to hide his opinions on social media, could not resist. “We are back,” he tweeted, while inside the changing rooms the players were ecstatic, among them Ousmane Dembele, who did not look like a player about to leave for free in the summer.

A victory and a performance like this will make current players eager to stay and potential targets want to come.

The problem for Barcelona is, for all the attractiveness of Xavi’s project, they will be restricted again to the kind of opportunistic deals that they struck in January with such success.

Barcelona’s Gabonese midfielder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 20, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with eight goals in 11 games, has been a revelation.

But to keep pulling off similar deals will be difficult. Barcelona might well be contenders again in La Liga next season but the gap to Europe’s most rich and powerful will take longer to close.

Perspective was the keyword afterwards for Carlo Ancelotti too, who reeled off Real Madrid’s achievements so far this season like a coach who knew he was suddenly under scrutiny.

It is a testament to the depth of the rivalry between Spain’s two biggest clubs that for some, a whole season’s work can be undone in 90 minutes.

“I am very sorry for the defeat, I am very sad but I keep it in perspective, which is that we have a nine-point lead in the league and we’re in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” Ancelotti said.

The two legs against Chelsea certainly assume greater significance now and it remains to be seen how much confidence is affected for the first game at Stamford Bridge, which is Real Madrid’s second match back after the break.

They will need Benzema fit and firing, with the Clasico underlining the failure of the club to sign suitable cover for the 34-year-old, and of Ancelotti to integrate his possible replacements. The plan to field Luka Modric upfront backfired completely.

Any doubts Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had about Ancelotti’s future longer-term will come into sharper focus, particularly if he thinks one of the world’s most impressive coaches like Mauricio Pochettino, Erik Ten-Haag, or even Thomas Tuchel could be lured in the summer.

Perez has opted for more conservative appointments in recent years, to oversee smooth transitions and to accommodate an iconic group of ageing players, but what the Clasico showed was Xavi’s Barca are a threat that cannot be ignored now. Madrid might also have to be bolder to confront it.

AFP

Barcelona Condemn Fans Abusing Koeman After Clasico Defeat

Both teams’ players greet each other at the end of the Spanish League football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 24, 2021. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

 

Barcelona condemned abuse from fans aimed at coach Ronald Koeman on Sunday as he left Camp Nou following the team’s 2-1 defeat by Real Madrid.

Koeman is a Barca legend after scoring the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final but he has been under heavy pressure as coach in recent weeks.

“FC Barcelona publicly condemns the violent and disdainful acts that our manager experienced when leaving the Camp Nou,” a club statement read.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Beat Struggling Rivals Barcelona In La Liga

“The Club will take security and disciplinary measures so that such unfortunate events do not happen again.”

Fans were seen gathering around Koeman’s car and shouting abuse at the Dutchman as he attempted to drive out of the stadium.

Barcelona had just lost to Real Madrid for the fourth time in a row, their longest run of defeats in the fixture since 1965.

The result leaves them eighth in La Liga and puts renewed pressure on Koeman, whose future has been uncertain after a poor start to the season.

Real Madrid Beat Barca In First Empty Stadium Clasico

(L-R) Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric, Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo and Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez celebrate at the end of the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 24, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Real Madrid averted a crisis in the best possible way on Saturday by beating Barcelona 3-1 in the first empty Clasico, landing an early blow in La Liga’s title race.

Barca had the chance to inflict a third consecutive defeat on their rivals and increase the pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

Instead, Madrid’s win earns them a six-point lead over the Catalans, having played one game more.

Sergio Ramos’ penalty and a late Luka Modric goal finished off Barcelona after Federico Valverde and Ansu Fati had traded early strikes in a frantic game that defied those expecting further evidence of two heavyweights in decline.

Barcelona might feel hard done by, especially as Ramos’ penalty was awarded after a check by VAR and a hugely exaggerated fall by Madrid’s captain after Clement Lenglet tugged his shirt.

But aside from an impressive spell in the first half, when an inspired Lionel Messi threatened to win the game on his own, Madrid were dominant for longer spells and pulled away when it mattered.

This was Ronald Koeman’s first Clasico as Barcelona coach and some of the pressure Zidane would have felt from a loss is now transferred to the Dutchman, who has overseen only three wins from his first six games in charge.

Barcelona face Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League, without the suspended Gerard Pique.

Every Barca set-back is now seen through the lens of Messi’s future too. The Argentinian, who failed in his attempt to leave last summer, has still to score from open play this season.

Mundo Deportivo had declared the match “The least Clasico of Clasicos” on its front page on Saturday morning.

The coronavirus pandemic meant the biggest football stadium in Europe was silent for the game that La Liga president Javier Tebas had claimed is “still the biggest football match in the world”.

In the previous week, Real Madrid had lost to Shakhtar Donestsk and newly promoted Cadiz, while Barcelona were beaten by Getafe last weekend

Yet a dip in quality does not have to mean a drop in drama and any doubts about the thrill of this fixture were answered in eight minutes, as both teams had scored.

Madrid made the start they dreamed of when Karim Benzema drifted deep into the right channel and was allowed to turn, with the sprinting Valverde going beyond him.

Valverde pierced the gap before lifting a curved shot past Neto and into the far corner.

Madrid celebrated as if their confidence had been reborn, but within three minutes, Barcelona were level.

Messi, from almost left-back, chipped a ball over the top freeing Jordi Alba who fired into the front post where Fati had nipped ahead of Ramos and turned in.

It was fast and open for the rest of the half, with Messi enjoying a golden spell. He glided past Casemiro and then swerved around Ramos, but onto his right foot, the finish stabbed into Thibaut Courtois at the near post.

Benzema should have scored too. Madrid finished the stronger before half-time but Barca were better after. Fati flashed just wide and Philippe Coutinho missed a free header at the back post.

Their momentum was checked by Lenglet’s error, a tug in the box clear enough that Ramos’ shirt was stretched, even if the fall was comically exaggerated. Referee Juan Martinez checked the monitor. Ramos found the corner.

Barca wanted a penalty themselves when Ramos booted a ball into team-mate Raphael Varane’s arm, but this time there was no whistle.

Ramos and Valverde both could have made it three in the final minutes before substitute Modric did, finishing beautifully after Neto rushed out.

AFP

Madrid Beat Barcelona In Clasico To Regain Top Spot

Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos shoots against Barcelona’s wall during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 1, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Real Madrid won the Clasico and might have saved their season as they ended their slump in the best way possible on Sunday, by beating Barcelona 2-0 and returning to the top of La Liga. 

Vinicius Junior’s deflected finish and a stoppage-time goal from Mariano Diaz decided a frenzied contest at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Madrid were given life after a Champions League defeat by Manchester City had left them on the brink of crisis.

Instead, an affirming victory sends them one point clear at the top of the table and shifts focus back to Quique Setien’s Barcelona, who were outfought and, at times, outplayed, even if they had chances too.

Lionel Messi’s rasping shot was denied by Thibaut Courtois in the first half but it was the Argentinian’s opposing captain Sergio Ramos who was thrashing his arms in celebration after the final whistle.

READ ALSO: Man City Retain League Cup After Aston Villa Win

His reaction was an indication of the importance of this victory, not only for the effect it has on the standings but on the dynamic of the title race, which had seemed to switch firmly in favour of Barca.

Cristiano Ronaldo was watching from an executive box and Madrid could have done with him during a period in which they had won only one of their last five games.

Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday this match would not decide who lifted the trophy in May but a Barca win and a five-point gap might well have been difficult to close.

Yet from the start, Barcelona seemed keener to kill the game than win it, playing for time in the hope of keeping the contest tight, when they might have been better off attacking their opponents’ fragility.

Home advantage has certainly meant little in this fixture given Barca had won their last four league meetings here, with Ramos admitting last week that Madrid’s players have begun to feel anxiety inside their own stadium.

There was more tension than creativity in the early stages as Fede Valverde crashed into Arthur Melo before fellow Spain full-backs Dani Carvajal and Jordi Alba were both booked after a disagreement.

Madrid had the better of the play and regularly broke at speed through Vinicius down the left but constantly they failed to make the final pass, with Isco once left with his head in his hands after Marcelo opted not to pull back.

Courtois Rock Solid

Barcelona played for time, their passing slow and their lack of urgency to restart obviously. At one point Messi bent to do up his shoelaces and re-spotted the ball before taking a corner.

But the visitors also created chances as Antoine Griezmann drove over from Alba’s cutback and then Madrid had Courtois to thank for two excellent saves.

First, Arthur held off Toni Kroos to go clear but his finish was blocked by Courtois’ foot and then the Belgian palmed away Messi’s shot after he had skipped in behind Madrid’s defence.

Ramos was lucky to get away with an error that allowed Nelson Semedo to break past him while Alba risked a second yellow when he checked Valverde but referee Mateu Lahoz was unmoved.

Barcelona were sloppy after half-time and Madrid should have capitalised. Instead, Isco’s header beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen but not Gerard Pique on the line and Karim Benzema volleyed over after a sloppy pass from Arturo Vidal.

Vidal was replaced by Martin Braithwaite, Barca’s emergency signing, and he sprinted in behind Marcelo twice in his first minute.

But Madrid remained in the ascendancy and in the 71st minute they took the lead. Benzema came short and pointed right to encourage Vinicius to run in behind. Kroos found him and Vinicius’ shot deflected off the sliding Pique to beat Ter Stegen at his near post.

The game opened up as Barcelona chased an equaliser. Marcelo celebrated when Messi’s surge through was stopped by Raphael Varane. Pique headed Messi’s cross over at the near post. Messi picked up a yellow card for a frustrated slide on Casemiro.

In injury time, Ter Stegen ventured up for a late free-kick but it was Madrid that struck again. Mariano sped past Nelson Semedo and finished from the angle.

AFP

Barcelona Fined €1,500 Over Clasico Beach Ball Incident

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann (L)and Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos eye the ball during the “El Clasico” Spanish League football match between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on December 18, 2019,
JOSE JORDAN / AFP

 

 

Barcelona have been fined 1,500 euros ($1,660) and warned the Camp Nou could be closed after beach balls were thrown on to the pitch during this week’s Clasico against Real Madrid, the Spanish football federation announced on Friday.

Inflatable balls were tossed on to the field Wednesday in a politically charged fixture which originally had to be postponed due to violent demonstrations across Catalonia.

The match, which finished goalless, was held up for 90 seconds as Barca made a substitution in the 55th minute due to the objects on the field.

After the game, 10 people were arrested and more than 60 injured in clashes between Catalan separatists and police outside the ground.

Some 3,000 police officers and private security agents had been deployed for the match amid calls for separatists to protest outside Camp Nou during the fixture.

AFP

12 Injured As Police Clash With Catalan Protesters Outside Camp Nou Stadium

Catalan regional police ‘Mossos D’Esquadra’ officers clash with demonstrators during a protest called by Catalan separatist movement Democratic Tsunami outside the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 18, 2019, during the “El Clasico” Spanish League football match between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid CF.
Pau Barrena / AFP

 

Masked protesters set bins on fire and threw rocks and glass bottles at police who responded with foam bullets in a street near Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium as Barcelona and Real Madrid faced off Wednesday in the first Clasico of the season.

Twelve people were injured in the clashes, including four who needed to be taken to a medical centre for extra care, local emergency services said.

The protesters, many of them carrying Catalan separatist flags, began setting up barricades in the middle of the street, which they then set on fire, after police arrived in dozens of police vans, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

READ ALSO: Barcelona Hold Real Madrid To Goalless Draw

Demonstrators rocked a police van and took down street signs that they added to the barricades.

Inside the stadium, thousands of fans held up blue banners with the words ‘Spain, sit and talk’ which were given to supporters outside the grounds and also carried the words, ‘Freedom, rights, self-determination’, as well as the slogan of Democratic Tsunami, the protest group promoting the cause of Catalan independence.

Protestors also blocked traffic after gathering at the four corners of the stadium from 1500 GMT, four hours before kick-off. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

AFP

Barcelona Hold Real Madrid To Goalless Draw

Barcelona’s French forward Antoine Griezmann (L)and Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos eye the ball during the “El Clasico” Spanish League football match between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on December 18, 2019,
JOSE JORDAN / AFP

 

Barcelona and Real Madrid could not be separated on Wednesday in a Clasico that was briefly interrupted by Catalan independence protests when dozens of yellow beach balls were thrown onto the pitch at Camp Nou. 

After being postponed in October, there were renewed fears of unrest around Spain’s most famous fixture.

Protestors held banners, waved flags and even threw inflatable beach balls.

However, although serious disruption inside the ground never materialised, there were clashes outside.

Twelve people were injured when police charged hundreds of masked protesters who set garbage bins on fire, according to emergency services.

The protesters, many of them carrying Catalan separatist flags, began setting up barricades in the middle of the street which they then set on fire after police arrived in dozens of police vans.

The match was less eventful than expected, with neither side ever really at their best and both, perhaps in the end, happier not to win than to lose.

A goalless draw means Barcelona stay top of La Liga, ahead of Real on goal difference while the historic score in league meetings between the two rivals remains 72 victories apiece.

Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos both made clearances off the line in the first half but the best chance arguably fell to Lionel Messi, only for the Argentinian to uncharacteristically scuff his finish.

“More than a Clasico”, read the front page of Barcelona daily Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday morning ahead of a fixture that while always politically charged, had assumed even greater significance than usual.

The game was originally due to be played on October 26 and the 53 days since seemed only to swell expectations around what Democratic Tsunami, the Catalan independence protest group, might do to disturb the most-watched club match in the world.

Yet in truth, there was less than expected.

Only in the 55th minute of the second half was the game paused for a minute as stewards ran on to collect dozens of yellow beach balls that had been thrown onto the pitch.

Bale ‘goal’ ruled out

Blue banners bearing the slogan of Democratic Tsunami: ‘Spain, sit and talk’, were also held up.

Four hours before kick-off, thousands had gathered at all four corners of the stadium to hold the same blue banners and wave Catalan flags, while some blocked traffic too.

Both teams had departed from the same hotel and aside from whistles and insults directed at the Madrid team bus, both arrived without incident. Club president Florentino Perez gave a thumbs-up as he walked in.

Gareth Bale was last to get off, by which time he might have known he was starting for the first time in four matches. Ramos played in his 43rd Clasico, a record for any player in history.

For Barcelona, Sergio Busquets was included in the line-up first announced before he was swapped out for Ivan Rakitic. Barca claimed it had been a communication error.

If it was, it was not the first mistake of the night, with a frantic first half full of them.

Real were the better side in the opening half an hour although Luis Suarez might have scored early had he controlled Jordi Alba’s cross at the back post.

There was a goalline clearance at both ends as Casemiro’s header bounced up and had to be hooked away by Pique before Thibaut Courtois punched out to Messi but his shot was blocked by Ramos.

Karim Benzema and Fede Valverde both tested Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba wanted a penalty for a Dani Carvajal handball but VAR was unmoved. Raphael Varane had a better case at the other end after having his shirt pulled by Alba.

Ten minutes into the second half, stewards ran on to collect the beach balls and shortly after, Barcelona twice should have scored, only for Messi and Suarez both to fluff finishes in quick succession.

Bale grazed the side-netting and the excellent Frenkie de Jong drove at Courtois after a neat one-two.

Bale then did score with 15 minutes left but his provider Ferland Mendy was a fraction offside. Neither team wanted to go for broke in the latter stages.

AFP

El Clasico: Barcelona To Battle Real Madrid In December

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 28, 2018, Barcelona fans hold up banners demanding freedom during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

 

The rearranged Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be played on December 18 despite opposition from La Liga, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Tuesday.

Spain’s most prestigious fixture, which was due to take place at Camp Nou on Saturday, was postponed last week because of violent pro-independence protests in Catalonia.

La Liga had proposed December 4 or 7 and may decide to appeal.

READ ALSO: Police Recover 39 Bodies In Container Near London

“The decision of the Competition Committee has taken place after analysing in recent days the proposals of both clubs, who were invited to agree a date and decided on December 18,” an RFEF statement read.

“It has also analysed a report from the RFEF Competitions Area as well as numerous reports submitted by La Liga, which are not binding.

“At today’s meeting, the Committee also analysed the latest reports from both clubs, who maintain their initial proposal to play the match on 18 December.”

It means Barcelona, who insisted the original match should have gone ahead this weekend, will face a testing few weeks before Christmas.

In December, they are already scheduled to play away at Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan in the Champions League and Real Sociedad, who sit fourth in La Liga.

Real Madrid will play away at Club Brugge in the Champions League and then Valencia, just before travelling to Barca.

But both clubs swiftly settled on Wednesday, December 18 last week, hours after being instructed to agree a new date by the RFEF.

La Liga, who originally proposed the postponement, disagreed, claiming December 18 would clash with fixtures in the Copa del Rey and harm the economic interests of the clubs involved.

– Common sense –

“The decision to change the date of the most important La Liga match cannot be left to the decision of the two participating clubs,” La Liga said on Friday, adding that they have a responsibility to “maximise income” from television rights.

La Liga initially suggested swapping the two Clasicos, with the first one being played at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, and then proposed the weekend of December 7, when Barcelona and Madrid already have fixtures.

Their last proposal was Wednesday, December 4, which comes just after Barca play away at Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Tuesday he hoped the two clubs would not be drawn into a political “war” between La Liga and the RFEF, who have clashed on various issues in recent years.

“I would like common sense to prevail,” Valverde said “I would like there to be a date settled and for the internal wars between La Liga and the RFEF not to involve us.”

Barcelona, who visit Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Wednesday, moved top of La Liga last weekend, one point ahead of Real Madrid.

AFP

Barcelona To Host Real Madrid For First Clasico In October

 

Defending Spanish champions Barcelona will host Real Madrid on October 28 in the first Clasico of the 2018/19 season, the Spanish football federation said Tuesday.

Real Madrid, who finished third in the league, 17 points behind champions Barcelona, will host the second meeting of the two Spanish giants on March 3, the federation added as it unveiled the season calendar.

The season opens on the weekend of August 18-19, and ends on May 18-19.

The Spanish capital’s derbies will be at Real’s Santiago Bernabeu on September 30 and at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano on February 10.

The Copa del Rey final will be held on May 25 at a yet-to-be-determined stadium, the federation said.

AFP

Clasico Too Soon For Dembele – Valverde

 LLUIS GENE / AFP

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insisted throwing the club’s record signing Ousmane Dembele back into action for next weekend’s Clasico at Real Madrid would be “premature”.

Dembele hasn’t played since tearing his hamstring at Getafe on September 16, just three games into his Barca career following a 105-million-euro ($124 million) move that could rise to as much as 145 million from Borussia Dortmund.

“We are staying with the same plan. We think he will be ready in January,” said Valverde on Saturday after Dembele returned to training this week.

“Any other plan would be premature and run a risk.”

Victory over Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday will open up an 11-point advantage for the Catalans over Madrid ahead of their trip to the capital next weekend, albeit Real would have a game in hand.

However, Valverde refused to admit that Barca can deliver a knockout blow to Madrid’s chances of retaining the title with victory at the Bernabeu.

“We don’t know what will happen, but our job is obviously to try and win both games,” added Valverde.

“It doesn’t concern me that people speak so much about the Clasico before tomorrow’s game, but we won’t make that mistake.”

AFP