It's raining at Camp Nou. "I am rooting for a 0-0 yawner, four guys marking Messi, two shots total, and sub 50 percent passing," jests Brandon Bandhauer. I hope not -- I'm missing a Midlands clasico between Leicester City and Nottingham Forest to watch this continental business.
Preamble: "We have the responsibility to give the world an exceptional spectacle," says Jose Mourinho. What can I say about this match that hasn't been said, using up every last superlative imaginable, already? That it's as good as a title decider, even in November? Nope, been done. That it's a chance to decide, once and for all a few hours, who's the better of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? Pretty sure that one's been covered. That it pitches Mourinho, quasi-mythical creature that he's become, against Pep Guardiola, who has resolutely refused to be drawn into any town-square posturing? Too late for that, too. Let's just say this is a meeting of arguably the two greatest club sides in the world, currently, and let the soccer do the talking, shall we?
No surprises here.
Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Carlos Puyol, Eric Abidal; Sergio Busquets; Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta; Pedro, Lionel Messi, David Villa.
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Marcelo; Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Angel di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo; Karim Benzema.
Officials Today's referee is Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez, an appointment that has got Mourinho, nervous worrywart that he is, complaining about favouritism. He was in charge of two matches Barcelona won against Real, see -- in 2005 and 1999. You know a more cynical play-by-play commentator might wonder if this isn't a bit of a ploy.
This interactivity lark:
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