It was Real’s two dry cupless seasons that made their fans wonder if they were really good enough to face the so-called Almighty Barcelona side led by Pep Guardiola. After losing 5 Clasicos in a row in La Liga, it was clear that the current Barca team had taken full authority over their archrivals, and a restoration was simply what the Madridistas were awaiting.
A 1-1 draw on April 16 at the Santiago Bernabeu proved that Jose Mourinho and his men had made remarkable efforts since their humiliating 5-0 destruction at the Camp Nou on 29 November 2010. The 2011 Copa del Rey final which took place at the Mestalla Stadium on the evening of April 20 was thus an encounter that was supposed to determine whether Real Madrid were poised to return to glory or not, and Los Merengues did just what they needed.
Although 90 minutes of hot and balanced fighting were not enough for them to bring down FC Barcelona, they made the most of the extra time that followed, as they grabbed a winning goal scored by Cristiano Ronaldo. The winger netted his first goal in El Clasico history at the weekend, and in the Copa del Rey final, another goal turned him into Barca’s most dangerous opposing player.
Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo Goal Video Highlights
Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid: Copa del Rey 2011 Final Full Video Highlights
This hence rewards Real Madrid with their very first Spanish Cup trophy since 1993; while Barcelona can only regret the fact that they were incapable to keep their dream of winning the treble this season. More importantly for the Catalans, their setback now shields Jose Mourinho’s club with an infinite amount of confidence toward the two imminent Clasicos in the UEFA Champions League’s semi-finals.
The Castellans’ victory—powered by winger Ronaldo—eventually gives the Blaugrana their first defeat in El Clasico since the end of 2008, and losing a prestigious final against their long-time rivals is something they might never be able to forget. Blaming, thinking and regretting surely will not help Los Cules who tried everything in the Copa del Rey final 2011, in search of a vital win that would add fuel to their tanks this season.
The least they can do at this point is certainly to rise up and accomplish their pending mission in the Champions League. Should La Liga leaders manage to edge past the newly-crowned Spanish Cup winners, then they will be facing Manchester United or Schalke in the European Cup final at the Wembley Stadium on 28 May 2011. In the meantime though, what seems to matter the most is to emotionally recover from their Copa del Rey “shock” and focus on their two approaching Clasicos at continental level: Real Madrid vs Barcelona, and Barcelona vs Real Madrid.
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