The Caffeine-Free Clasico?

phil.schoen /

Has el Clasico lost its magic? Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said that the rivalry with Barcelona was getting 'decaffeinated' after all of the super showdowns over the past year.

However, judging by the way Casillas and company reacted during, and after their heart-breaking, cup-eliminating draw last Wednesday there is still plenty of raw emotion remaining.

Real has squared off against their arch-rivals nine times in the last nine months - winning just one game, last year's Copa del Rey Final. If the two are drawn against each other in the Champions League quarters or semis, if will be an even dozen Clasicos in a years time.

While Casillas and some others are wondering if this is a classic case of overkill, fans around the globe are still crowding around the television to watch every second. Will that continue, considering the growing string of frustrating results for the Madridistas?

Real Madrid is leading the league and playing a style of soccer that is absolutely breathtaking. However, every time they face their arch-rival it seems the herculean effort is all for naught.

The last three meetings seem like variations on a theme: Madrid dominating early, only to see Barcelona bounce back to win. Barcelona's first leg CopaClasico comeback turned Real Madrid's dressing room into a telenovela worthy of prime time. Star players challenging every move of the once untouchable Jose Mourinho. And then a search for the mole that spilled the drama to the headlines of sports sections world wide.

Perhaps last week's draw did enough to change the merengue's fate. Instead of seeing Barcelona dominate in demoralizing fashion, it was Real Madrid who rode the blaugrana wave and almost surged into the semifinals in an amazing comeback of their own. While it fell short, it seemed as though Madrid turned a corner that could drive them to the double, surrendering their Cup but stealing Barca's league and European crowns when the day is done.

Sure, Barcelona got the job done... again... but it seems as though this year's future Clasicos will be anything but caffeine-free.


elmagistral / Fri, 2012-01-27 19:34

You bet, they'll be awesome clasicos. And they'll probably meet twice in the Champions League again....

Will Jagy / Tue, 2012-01-31 18:21

Dear Mr. Schoen,
I would very much like to know how it came about that Ray Hudson commented during the 25th January Copa del Rey match, involving Real Madrid, "they are trying to solve the problem that is Barcelona. They might as well try to solve the Hodge Conjecture."
Please see my comments at http://mathoverflow.net/questions/11502/the-current-status-of-the-birch-...
and, for general info, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hodge_conjecture

In case my email is not visible, it can be found readily through http://www.ams.org/cml/

Apologies for asking about such a minor topic.

William C. Jagy
Berkeley, California

elmagistral / Tue, 2012-01-31 19:55

Ha Ha, great comment by Ray, not sure if he reads all that math that appears in Wikipedia's article, but reading that Hodge was a Scotish mathematician, probably he knows it from a near bar, although Ray is not Scotish, but from Englands northern border. What a conjeture, why Ray comment about Hodge's conjeture....

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