You can’t beat Barca v Real or Juve against Milan

December 12, 2008

There was a lot of fuss about Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim and Chelsea v Arsenal in the last few weeks but for me this weekend offers the best two games in domestic football.

Saturday’s El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid and Sunday’s clash between Juventus and AC Milan both have real tradition and a zest which Europe’s nouveau riche clubs can only dream of.

The game at the Nou Camp has extra spice given it’s Juande Ramos’s first league game in charge of Real while in-form Barca can really surge ahead in the table with a win. 

Juve v Milan is also a big game in terms of the standings. The two sides are joint-second and the winner will become the true rivals to leaders Inter Milan and their recent Serie A dominance. But it has not always been like this, prior to Inter’s three scudettos in a row it was nearly always Juve and Milan battling for the title in the last 20 years.

Juve v Inter is known as ‘the Derby of Italy’ but this week Rossoneri striker Andriy Shevchenko, who scored the winning penalty when Milan beat Juve in the 2003 Champions League final, said this fixture was the really big game in Serie A. 

Another indication of the history between Barca-Real and Juve-Milan is the players on show. As Paul Virgo pointed out in a recent blog, these four sides are the home of the one-club player. Raul, Puyol, Xavi, Maldini and Del Piero really care about their clubs in ways players at other top European sides just don’t.

(By the way Barca’s Xavi and Lionel Messi and Milan’s Kaka have just been named among the nominees for FIFA’s world player of the year. Wouldn’t it make sense for one of them to win rather than give Ballon d’Or victor Cristiano Ronaldo another prize?)

So what’s the verdict for the weekend? I reckon 1-1 in both matches but you just never know with these four…

PHOTO: AC Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko (L) challenges Fabio Cannavaro of Juventus during their match at the San Siro, August 14, 2005. REUTERS/Daniele La Monaca

4 comments

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My personal favourite is Atletico Madrid-Barcelona.
It might not have quite have the glamour of the other games Mark mentioned, because of Atleti’s lower status outside Spain, but I’ve found that for goals and plot twists it’s often fabulous fun.
I’ll go for Barca 1 Real Madrid 2 for the new-manager effect at Real and Juventus 1 Milan 2 in Turin with Ronaldinho and Del Piero both scoring free kicks.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

I see that Real Madrid lost

Hi Dave. Yep, I think Schuster was right, and they were never going to win that one. They left with heads held high after not being hammered, which was the point behind Schuster’s comments in the first place. Feel a bit sorry for him, really.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

well Juve beat Milan 4-2 and a cracking game it was too. Juve now look Inter’s main rivals for the title and it could be another barren year for Milan.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive