There are three teams in La Liga who have been there since it was founded in 1929 and never left. Two of these teams dominate the league and have won 52 of the 80 titles that have been played. You would therefore think that the two best teams in what is arguably the best league in the world; Athletic Bilbao showing that Manchester United were no match for them yesterday yet they sit seventh in La Liga, would be the best game of football to watch anywhere in the world.
Simulation is described as: the act or process of pretending; feigning. It is the act of simulation that turns El Clasico from a game everyone should desire to watch, to a game everyone should avoid at all costs. The times that these two sides have met this season has led to the public openly slating the players of both sides, in particular Pepe and Sergio Busquets. By spoiling the game in this way El Clasico isn’t the spectacle that it should be, nor is it the game we want to see.
Of course people will always be interested in this game because of the two sides involved, but can the match be described as the best game on the planet anymore; in my opinion, no. There are some derbies however, that although lack the same talented players involved in El Clasico, show much more passion and determination to win against the other. This passion for a win against a bitter rival makes the game exciting, and without the needless simulation encountered in El Clasico, makes for a better game.
Normally I’m the first person to talk of my admiration for El Clasico and the great event that it can be. But this year has shown that for now, with Mourinho at the helm of Madrid things seem to have changed in the attitude towards the match and importantly the attitudes of the players. Until this attitude has changed El Clasico won’t be as great as it should be. There are a number of derbies that show more passion for the game than El Clasico; Roma – Lazio, Celtic – Rangers, and the Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate to name a few. But these games don’t bare the same level of quality in terms of football that El Clasico does; when the players are on their feet.
To find a balance between the two; both passion and class, the game that springs to mind of late is the north London derby between Arsenal and Spurs. Their match at the end of February was an example of two teams that possess the ability to open defences with such craft and skill they can be considered among the best in their country. Although the defending was perhaps lackadaisical in part, the game itself was a joy to watch. For this reason the match has to be considered as one of the best derbies to watch in football at the moment, if not, at least the most exciting.
With the Champions League draw this morning still leaving us with the possibility of an El Clasico final I keep my fingers crossed that if it happens the players from both clubs come to their senses and stick to what their fans all follow them for; their football, and turn El Clasico into the wondrous exhibition that it should and could be.
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