Ronaldo and Real continue superiority in Clasico head-to-head
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Barcelona last night
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3:Real Madrid are in the final of the Copa del Rey. These were set to be eight decisive days – Barcelona away, Barcelona at home and Manchester United away – but the threat was always a promise. Here, it was fulfilled: the first hurdle was overcome with ease.
This tie was over almost as soon as it had begun, with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo early in each half leaving Barcelona with an impossible task and Raphael Varane, so impressive in the first leg, hammering the final nail in their coffin.
With the score 3-0 to Madrid on the night, 4-1 on aggregate, the Catalans were left to play the final 20 minutes more out of obligation than anything else.
This had proved a brilliant night for Madrid, and not for the first time. When it comes to head-to-head, Jose Mourinho’s Madrid can claim to have become the better side: the last six meetings between these teams have seen Madrid clinch the league with a 2-1 victory in Barcelona last year, win the Spanish Super Cup over two legs and now claim a place in the Copa del Rey final, as well as drawing 2-2 here in the league in October. Ronaldo, too, has become more dominant in these games than Messi.
Trailing by sixteen points, the league is lost for Real but that did not feel like it mattered much here. This was humiliating for Barcelona; worrying, too.
On this form they have little chance against Milan. Another big game finished with a Barcelona goal, this time from Jordi Alba, but they were impotent again.
Madrid got the goal that changed the complexion of this tie before the quarter-hour mark and it was, on one level at least, a portrait of Barcelona – and, indeed, of Madrid.
At one end, Lionel Messi was bundled over by Angel Di Maria on the edge of the area. But, as some appealed for a penalty they wasted the free-kick, taken quickly and short, the opportunity gone. Suddenly, at the other end they were exposed. Ronaldo was running at Gerard Pique; one step over, two, and the defender was drawn in, bringing the Portuguese down. This time there was no doubt.
Ronaldo coolly rolled in the penalty, making this the sixth consecutive trip to the Camp Nou in which he had scored.
On 57 minutes Pedro Rodriguez felt he had been bundled over by Xabi Alonso. A second later, it was effectively all over. A long ball up the left from Sami Khedira, Di Maria ran at Carles Puyol turning one way and the next. Pinto saved his shot but the ball dropped to Ronaldo who brought it down on his chest and finished Barcelona off.
There would be another goal for Madrid with Varane towering a header just as in the first leg.
Fit of Pique Club spy on defender
Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique was reportedly trailed by private detectives on the orders of club bosses worried about whether his romance with the Colombian pop star Shakira and his embrace of the city’s nightlife was damaging his form on the pitch.
The news website El Confidencial reported that the club asked for Pique to be followed in 2010 in order to see how much time he was spending partying.
The detective agency Metodo 3 has joined the long list of companies to have closed its doors in Spain’s recession and angry former employees have sought revenge by leaking some of the dirty tricks allegedly carried out on behalf of political parties and, now, the city’s most famous soccer club, Barcelona FC.