It was at this stage of the UEFA Champions League competition last season that Jose Mourinho guided Internazionale to an upset of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. A 3-1 victory at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium wounded the Catalans so deeply that even Gerard Pique’s goal at the Camp Nou couldn’t repair the damage.
A 1-0 victory was just not enough for the hosts in the return leg, as Jose Mourinho and the Nerazzurri hanged on to reach the final of the 2010 UEFA Champions League on a 3-2 aggregate score line. It’s a repeat of this achievement that Real Madrid want to experience this season. Can they clinch it? Looking at their size on paper, they certainly can. The question, rather, should be: WILL they clinch it?
Real Madrid vs Barcelona actually appears as a huge test for the Special One who successfully ended Los Blancos’ 18-year title drought in the Copa del Rey. Jose Mourinho has already inspired his current team to break their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 jinx.
Now after having comfortably reached the semis at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur, there are three more giant steps to take before lifting the 2011 UEFA Champions League trophy. The first of those is the mouth-watering Real Madrid vs Barcelona match on April 27, 2011. (You can follow Real Madrid vs Barcelona LIVE on Live Soccer TV!)
This titanic encounter comes at an amazing moment for Jose Mourinho; but Real Madrid’s 2011 Copa del Rey victory over Barcelona has actually given it two aspects—one his rather positive, the other is rather negative.
Never mind about Sergio Ramos’ dropping of the Copa del Rey trophy under Real Madrid’s bus during the parade. Even this incident didn’t trouble Los Blancos and their fans that much—although superstitious people may wonder about the effects that this freak accident may have upon Real Madrid’s hunt for more glory.
In general, there seems to be no reason as to why the Spanish giants’ supporters should lower the volume of their noisy celebrations following Wednesday’s Spanish Cup triumph. But the “Special One”, himself, spoke wisely, saying as The Guardian reported:
“We won the Copa del Rey and it's over. The happiness we feel from winning it is finished, now.”
There’s indeed a great need for Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid to look around and realize that the war is not over just yet. The Catalans and their army of fans are perhaps wounded, but not dead; and the platform that the UEFA Champions League competition could see a Barcelona renaissance following their Spanish Cup downfall.
Real Madrid’s 2011 Copa del Rey defeat of Barca, in a sense, is a bonus for Los Blancos. That is, in terms of confidence most especially. From another perspective, it has put Wednesday’s hosts in a more dangerous position.
Coach Jose Mourinho has a tough task now—the mission of overcoming Pep Guardiola’s wrath. And who is unaware of the comeback spirit that makes Pep Guardiola and Barcelona a team to fear drastically?
April 27, 2011: Real Madrid vs Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League—Live on Live Soccer TV.
|Real Madrid||May 2|
|Celta de Vigo||May 4|
|Bayern München||May 6|