Barca 6 – Real 2: The Best Team on Planet Earth.By: The Offside | May 2nd, 2009
Real Madrid had won 17 of 18. They’d not lost since the last Clasico in December. They were, Champions League aside, the hottest team in Europe since the arrival of Juande Ramos. They were playing in front of the echoing thunder and passion of a football mecca in Madrid, the Bernabeu.
They were still no match for Barcelona.
And perhaps it was that scintillating run which felled them in the end. The justified swelling of confidence which had them mistakenly believing they could hang with the best team on the planet. Chelsea got it right, whether you agree with their tactics or not. Had the Blues tried for the win they would’ve been sent back to London with their tear-drenched hands buried in their laps and a glorified friendly coming up midweek.
(As I’m typing this Gerard Pique leads the attack to score number six. Yes, that’s centerback Gerard Pique.)
It had all the hallmarks of a timeless classic. Real went up early after Sergio Ramos dribbled Eric Abidal back into 1987 and Higuain was given enough space to land an airplane in the box for what seemed to be at the time a very good start to a very good day for the blancos. And then it all went upside down. Thierry Henry turned back the clock and began skipping by defenders like they weren’t even there, exquisitely finishing past Casillas for the first before Carles Puyol – yes, Carles Puyol – scored the second just minutes later off a free kick. Then came Messi, who was back to his brilliant best, and shortly after the halftime whistle.
About ten minutes into the second half Sergio Ramos made things interesting and closed the gap to one, but all that really did was make the fall a little harder for Real fans. Two minutes later Messi restored the two goal lead and a further 15 after that, Henry capped his theory questioning whether time really exists at all.
The first twenty minutes aside, this was vintage Barca. It appeared as though teams were going to trade goals and leads for 90 minutes, but once the Catalans settled down with possession the game was effectively over. Nearly impossible to take off the ball and simply too good with it.
And thus this means two things:
i. Barcelona only have to win one of the remaining four games to seal the Spanish title – so start the engraving now.
ii. Chelsea may want to suck up their pride and haul the team bus back onto the pitch in London. You simply cannot play this Barcelona team.