Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughEl Clasico is quickly descending into football’s farce - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough El Clasico is quickly descending into football’s farce - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

El Clasico is quickly descending into football’s farce

The quest for domination in Spain is one that will never end. For the best part of a decade, it has been the mission of both Barcelona and Real Madrid to outdo each other, no matter the cost. Valencia managed to break the monopoly, albeit it temporarily, back in 2002 and again in 2004 while many contenders, including Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and, more recently to an extent Levante, have come and fallen at the feet of the games’ biggest sides.

Considered to be in a league of their own, much like Rangers and Celtic in a more flamboyant equivalent of the SPL, battles between the two great giants are a much sought after affair. Viewing figures for the most recent El Clasico at the Nou Camp was well into the hundreds of millions. And why wouldn’t football folk want to view this game?

As aforementioned, it is an encounter that possesses football’s finest talents. In the one fixture, the gold, silver and bronze medallists of the Balon D’or, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi respectively, all featured at the Copa Del Rey fixture in Catalan country and, in one capacity or another, influenced the final 2-2 draw on the night (Madrid crashed out of the competition after falling 2-1 to the Blaugrana at the Bernabeu the previous week) while in the past have utilised their immense talent to change a game in a heartbeat.

However, while the talent is there for all to witness, another changing factor has begun to really creep into what should be a spectacle on the grandest of scales. While Messi, Ronaldo and Xavi can showcase their capabilities to the world, the likes of Madrid’s Pepe and Sergio Busquets of Barcelona have revealed what is beginning to creep into what is a prestigious affair.

The undermining tactics of both players in order to secure victory has resulted in yellow cards, red cards and injuries, while allowing the world to witness the disturbing low two sets of players’ are willing to stoop to in order to obtain victory over the other. We’ve seen the likes of Ricardo Carvalho simply kick Messi in the knee at the Bernabeu, while bearing witness to compatriot and team-mate Pepe “accidentally” stamp on the Argentine’s hand while the ‘little flea’ was on the floor as a result of the burly defenders’ heavy challenge.

With the European Champions, the imaginary card waving from Pedro and Dani Alves became an all-too-familiar-sight when the two sides met last season. The play-acting of Busquets has seen the World Cup winner fall from his place in the fan’s hearts to one of the most hated professionals in the game. The relentless diving on the floor, rolling around clutching one’s face in a vain attempt to see a fellow professional, and at times an international team-mate, as witnessed during the aforementioned fixture at the Nou Camp when Sergio Ramos received his second booking as a result of the midfielder, is beyond nonsensical at the best of times.

Don’t get me started on the worst. It simply doesn’t bare the comprehension of this article. But, it goes to show how far down El Clasico has dropped in recent years. This isn’t a dig at one team or the other; it’s a major gripe with both. The dangerous precedent set to the hundreds of millions of football fans, many of those aspiring to follow in the footsteps of their heroes on the pitch with their friends during a friendly kick-about or from the academy fixtures and up, is one that is beginning to set down a very, very slippery slope.

It is a big problem, but one that won’t be changed in the distant future. With both club’s vying for that elusive top-spot, neither are going to cut out the senseless, and downright pathetic, behaviour until one team is the victor. It has become an obsession with the duo that has seen them go to great lengths to topple the other which, from the perspective of a football fan, is what matters when it comes to the any major derby.

Overcoming the old enemy is one of the greatest feelings to any supporter of the game, but doing it in such a way, influencing the future greats of the game to behave in a similar fashion, isn’t the way to go about it. Both Madrid and Barca are capable of playing football at the highest of the highest standard, the latter in particular are currently being lambasted as the greatest in the history of football, but Spain’s best are running a monumental risk of being remembered for a number of the wrong reasons.

Ben McAleer

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