The dream of many football fanatics has come true following a spending frenzy by Los Blancos which included the record signing of Portuguese Ronaldo from Manchester United. The club obviously made other big name signings and also fortified its defense with the hope of challenging the Catalan club for honours both in Spain and Europe.
Barca did not hold back and retaliated by capturing Inter’s Ibrahimovic though that came at a steep price. Inter received star striker Samuel Eto’o in return in addition to a hefty payment for the Nerazzurri. The proud Catalan club still has plenty of weapons upfront besides the famous names mentioned above. Andres Iniesta has become an integral cog in the team’s free-flowing approach and often contributes with decisive balls from midfield while young striker Bojan Krkic is beginning to emerge as a threat. Krkic’s playing time will still be limited with the presence of Henry and Ibrahimovic yet he is sure to get regular cameo appearances under Coach Josep Guardiola’s stewardship.
Barca’s strengths are not limited to the frightening forward lineup or the midfield’s flair and solidity but also the defense’s compactness under the leadership of Carles Puyol. While Xavi and Iniesta supply the attackers with the ammunition to score goals, the energetic Yaya Toure supports the defense and covers the space left by the midfielders roaming forward. Captain Puyol marshals the defense and has found an able deputy in the form of Gerard Pique.
As for Los Galacticos, Kaka and Ronaldo pull the strings from midfield and move forward to support Captain Raul and French striker Karim Benzema. Behind them former Liverpool star Alonso ensures the team ticks like a well-oiled machine while Mahamadou Diarra recovers plenty of balls, breaks up opposition moves and offers cover for the defense. Iker Casillas remains a trustworthy goalkeeper between the posts and often performs incredible saves while Raul Albiol and Alvaro Arbeloa were brought in to strengthen the defensive line.
Real Madrid was not able to lure French International and Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery leaving club President Florentino Perez visibly disappointed. While Barcelona appears to be more of a solid, free-flowing and united team, Los Blancos have yet to mesh together and are still reliant on individual talents and flashes of brilliance from stars such as Kaka.
So the question for La Liga and all football fans is probably best summed up in this question: Would you pick a cohesive yet very talented team like Barca or will you bet on Real Madrid winning titles through the contributions of the individual superstars? It is Barca’s impressive talent working for the collective good in a face-off with Real’s awfully talented superstars who are still relying on their skills to gel into a successful team.
Both Kaka and Ronaldo achieved success with their previous clubs but they have not played together prior to this season and Los Blancos have not won in Europe for a long time. On the other hand, Barca have won a historic treble last season and probably have the best player in the world at the moment in the shape of Leo Messi.
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