There was a sense of palpable anticipation on the cusp of Jose Mourinho’s first ever Clasico contest.
Unbeaten in La Liga, the Portuguese boss seemed to have settled in to his new role well at the Bernabeu. Madrid had already were looking more compact and Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be flourishing under the tutelage of his compatriot.
Following his appointment as Real Madrid boss, there were suspicions as to how Mourinho would fit in at Los Blancos. Renowned for a pragmatic ethos that puts substance over style, the Portuguese didn’t seem a natural fit for the Bernabeu. Previous managers in the past had been cast aside despite winning a host of trophies; at Madrid, not only do you have to win, but you have to win with a swagger.
This fixture against Barcelona was to provide an early indication as whether or not Mourinho was the man to marry those two desirable qualities. Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team were beginning to establish themselves as a real force at this juncture, with Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta all at the peak of their powers.
The line-up fielded by Mourinho gave a strong indication that his team was going to take on this Barcelona team: Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria all started this one. By comparison, La Blaugrana Messi in his usual “false nine” berth, with the dynamic Pedro and clinical David Villa flanking him.
What followed was went some way to cementing one of these teams as one of the best in the history of the game. This game came to define of way of playing that became a benchmark for the rest of the football world to aspire towards.
So sit back and enjoy one of the finest team performances you are ever likely to see from a side.
Match: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
Competition: La Liga
Date: 29 November, 2010
Stadium: Nou Camp, Barcelona
After watching the match, feel free to post your observations regarding the game in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your feedback, and whether the match lived up to its billing or not. Plus, if you have any suggestions for classic soccer matches for us to feature in future columns, let us know in the comments section below.