Despite winning the double, Barcelona’s season hinges on two matches – El Clasico and Real Madrid’s bid to win a third Champions League title in a row
As expected, Real Madrid have moved on to the Champions League final with the usual blend of sheer efficiency, blind luck at key moments (what was Sven Ulreich thinking about?) and refereeing controversy (that Marcelo hand inside the box…).
Overall, Bayern were better in both games…and they got knocked out. It’s the most frequent outcome when you face Los Blancos and you don’t translate that superiority into goals. Bayern missed too many chances, and paid for it.
Now, Zinedine Zidane and his men are only 90 minutes away from winning their third consecutive Champions League title in a row, an utterly amazing (and, frankly, quite inexplicable) feat, something we might never see again.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) May 2, 2018
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be facing them but, again, the Reds have shown quite a lot of fragility in their defence: last Wednesday’s example against AS Roma (4-2), with the semi-finals in their pocket since the away game at Anfield (5-2), proves that the English outfit lack the reliability of the Madridista side.
On May 26th, both clubs will clash with the whole football world watching. That will include FC Barcelona and their fanbase, sudden Liverpool supporters in their quest to make the most of their ‘Doblete’ season.
That’s because the outcome of the Champions League final will tell if Barça’s year has been a success or not. Crazy, right? Blame the legendary enmity between the Culés and Madridistas, which – by the way – will find another epic clash between both of them happening this same weekend at the Camp Nou.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 3, 2018
Right now, with both La Liga and Copa del Rey secured, surely the team is beating itself up after that disastrous night in Rome in the Champions League. Had they kept their cool, they would’ve been very close to complete the perfect season. Copa del Rey? Check. La Liga champions and unbeaten to date? Check. That misstep, however, was such a disappointment that Barça fans haven’t properly reconciled to appreciate the huge season Messi & company have had…
… unless Real Madrid are beaten in the Champions League final by Liverpool.
That would shift the focus and send Real into a frenzy of criticism. No La Liga for them, no Copa del Rey… and defeated in the final of *their* favourite competition, the one they hope to win for the 13th time? Now that would be disappointing. After all, Madrid have put all of their eggs in the Champions League basket, even giving the impression of total disregard for the Spanish league once Barça got the huge 14-point lead after winning in El Bernabeu, back in December.
No question about it: if Real don’t win the Champions League, their season would be perceived as an absolute failure. And, as a direct consequence, Barça’s ‘Doblete’ would shine with double the intensity. As both sides of the same coin, one can’t thrive without the other failing.
[BEHIND THE SCENES]
Confetti 🎉, Music 🎶, Photos 📷…
🏆🏆 #7heChamp10ns parade
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 1, 2018
With such a spicy end of season as background, this Sunday both teams will face off at the Camp Nou with very different goals in mind. Real, after getting into the Champions League final, would surely get a kick out of winning in hostile territory, breaking Barça’s unbeaten streak and seizing a moral boost ahead of the game against Liverpool three weeks later. But, at the same time, a high-intensity match might deliver some injuries, and Zidane won’t want any kind of hiccups in his careful planning of the season’s biggest game.
Valverde’s men, on the other hand, have one single motivation in mind: prove to themselves and to the football world that they should have been the ones to play that Champions League final. That they deserved the ‘Triplete’. That they are better than Real. That they are keen on completing the perfect, unbeaten season in LaLiga. And if they’re able to do it with plenty of goals, they won’t hesitate to do it. Sunday will be the perfect and possibly last chance for Messi, Suarez or (especially) Iniesta to retcon that unexpectedly horrible night at Rome.
Delivering a big blow to Madrid’s morale before their showdown against the Reds might not be enough to prevent Real from winning the Champions League… but it sure will allow the Blaugrana fanbase to sleep better at night.