10 Reasons Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Are Not the Greatest of All Time [GOAT] in Football

For the best part of the last decade, two names have dominated world football (soccer) more than any others; Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These great rivals have broken countless football records, scored insane number of goals and pushed each other all the way to greatness despite the fact that they are two very different football players, playing two very different styles in two very different roles for two different clubs. The only thing that really connotes the two is the ocean of ability that separates them from the rest of the players in the world. There can be no question as to whether the duo belongs in the pantheon of football all-time greats anymore. Although any effort to determine the greatest footballer of all time is subject to generational bias, it should be noted that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not individually or collectively the greatest football player [s] of all time due to the following reasons;

Cristiano is not the best 'Ronaldo' to play the game: Despite his unparallel achievement in and off the field of play, Cristiano Ronaldo is still not considered the best Ronaldo to have played the game. Ronaldo de Assisi (also known as Ronaldinho) and Ronaldo de Lima (the phenomenon) are the other 'Ronaldos' who is legendary attacking prowess is often compared to Cristiano Ronaldo's. Ronaldo de Lima was a more explosive and complete striker who would have probably been the 'World's Best Striker Ever' if he had stayed injury-free in his footballing career, while Ronaldinho was the entertainer who, at his peak, constantly wowed the footballing world . Cristiano Ronaldo is better than other 'Ronaldos' in terms of constitutionality over the years, phenomenal goal-scoring rates, overall fitness and prolonged career (due to low rate of injuries) but for sheer skill, explosiveness, superior technical ability, and the' wow 'factor, the two' Ronaldos' are better than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi is not the best ever Argentine player: It is a well-known fact that for a footballer to be the best ever in the world, he has to be the best ever footballer in his country and sadly, Lionel Messi is not both . Lionel Messi is not the best football player Argentina has produced. That honor goes to Diego Armando Maradona. Maradona (widely regarded as one of the best football players ever) is a footballing legend that inspired Argentina to a world cup victory and SSC Napoli (in the Italian Football League) to its first and second League title [Scudetti] in its history. He is the scorer of the world's most dubious goal (the 'Hand of God' goal) and the FIFA Goal of the Century. There is virtually a cult around the player in Argentina. Diego Maradona (and Pele) is the benchmark for the illustrious South American nation when a new star comes on to the block. So, while Messi has dazzled on the European stage, passing Milestone after Milestone and picking up loads of rewards, his countrymen regard him as the country's second best football player ever.

Both players have never won the World Cup: Although the latter rounds of the modern-day UEFA Champions League would rival the FIFA World Cup in terms of quality, with talents from around the globe increasingly concentrated in the hands of an elite few, the World Cup still retains substantive symbolic value as a quadrennial competition which pit the best of one nation against the best of another. It is no secret Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have never won (or inspired their respective countries to win) the FIFA World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo has won an European Cup (The Euros) with his home country, Portugal but has never been to the semi-finals or the finals of the World Cup while Lionel Messi was underwhelming in the 2014 world cup semi-final and final with his home country Argentina historically losing to Germany. The World (and Messi) was shocked when he was named the best player and awarded the Golden Ball of the tournament. Lionel Messi is also a three-time runner-up in the Copa America competition with Argentina. Most football players such as Zinedine Zidane, Pele, Diego Maradonna, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo de Lima etc. often touted as the world's best ever football player all played dominant roles in the World Cup tournament they ever won. The same can not be said previously of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

They are not Football's best Goal-scorers ever: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are efficient, effective and phenomenal goal scorers featuring amazing goal per match ratio but they are not among the five best goal scorers in football history. Neither of them have scored up more than 700 goals in their respect careers so they can not be in the company of great players such as Pele, Romario, Josef Bican, Ferenc Puskas (he has a FIFA goal-scoring award named after him), Gerd Muller. The rate of scoring of these legendary players is more impressive than that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo given they ended their footballing careers with goal tallies well into the 800s. So if scoring goals are what makes footballers great, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, having better players boasting better goal tallies ahead of them, can not be the greatest footballers of all time.

Both players have been accused of being criminal: They both have tax payment issues with the Spanish authorities (the country they have chosen and play in) and so have been accused of being criminal. After a lengthy trial that attracted so much publicity due to his status as a supremely gifted sportsman, Lionel Messi (and his father) was found guilty of not paying his taxes to the Spanish government, fined heavily and sentenced to two years in prison has since agreed to pay an increased fine rather than have a 21-month suspended prison sentence). His trial, guilty verdict, fine and (suspended) sentence damaged his credibility as a morally upright athlete who could do no wrong and that of his football club (FC Barcelona). Cristiano Ronaldo is also being investigated for tax evasion by the Spanish authorities, might be tried (or not), heavily fined and get a suspended prison sentence.

Their overall goal tallies are padded with too many penalies: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the greatest goal scorers of their generation. They score obscene number of goals in a football season but almost half of the total goals scored both players have come from the penalty spot. In football, penalties are the easiest way to score because it involves only the designated penalty-taker and a goal keeper to beat. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, being the designated criminal-takers of their respective club sides, always take every penalty kick awarded them or their teammates thereby increasing their goal tallies. In 2013/2014 Football season in England, Luis Suarez of Liverpool FC (before he moved to FC Barcelona to become a teammate of Lionel Messi) won the highest goal scorer award in the English Premier League and shared the European Golden Shoe award with Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring 32 goals in 33 games in open play without taking a single penalty. That is a record Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do not yet hold.

They play for football's most valuable clubs: Messi and Ronaldo play for super-clubs in Spain where the top sides score goals by the hatful. The second millennium's new financial order unfortunately gives birth to the modern super team essentially creating a certain form of predictability in both domestic and continental leagues. Lionel Messi plays for FC Barcelona in Spain while Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid CF also in Spain. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF are extremely rich and dominant football clubs that can afford to buy and stockpile the best and most expensive football talent anywhere in the world and so Messi and Ronaldo are always surrounded and assisted by world-class players to aid in dominating continental club football that raising their international profiles. Both clubs always have a slew of world-class players at their disposal which leads to utter domination in domestic (Spanish La Liga) and continental (UEFA Champions League) football competitions.

The benefit of playing in the Modern Era: It is almost impossible to compare players of different era in a game that has changed so much over the years. Great footballers like Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo di Stefano played in an era when the game was played at a tempo unrecognizably slower than in the modern era. That does not make them less great than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The game played previously has changed because of changes in rules governing the game and the quality of footballs produced and used. Players in the modern era are also fitter, faster, and stronger than they have ever been, but players (especially defenders) are technically weaker than they have ever been. The Champions League's expansions of the nineties is also an advantage to the modern player: having a group stage that allows a margin of error that simply did not exist in the knock out style pre-1995 tournament. It has never been easier for attackers – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo probably would never score 40-60 goals a season in the 1980s when the rules governing the game and footballs used did not benefit attackers (strikers), and defenders / defenses were littered with world-class talents.

They are a part of football's rich history: We view the history of the game through our own national experiences, or at least we did until the modern era, where we can watch the Spanish league, Messi and Ronaldo every weekend. It is worth remembering that in the 1970s and even into the 1980s, most of Europe just watched the European Cup and UEFA Cup games of their own national teams. So, here is a little suggestion; the next time Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo score a breath-taking goal and someone on Twitter suggests the debate (on the greatest football player) is over, head to YouTube and spend ten minutes watching goals from Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Pele, Ferenc Puskas, Roberto Baggio, Eusebio, Alfredo di Stefano and so on. There have been plenty of geniuses in the game, and Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are part of that rich football history.

Generational and positional bias in football: The hunt for the greatest football player in history is like that of the Holy Grail. All footballers (sportsmen) are products of their time. Due to football's developmental stagnation relative to other sport and because there are so many different positions, and so many roles within those positions, it is hard to have a worthwhile conversation about who the best football player of all time is. Since the main objective of the game is to score a goal, the best goal scorers such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will always be near the top of any list about the game's best players.

Conclusion; Do not kid yourself that there will not be another player like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, no-one thought they would see another player like Diego Maradona.

Holiday Destination Ideas for 2011

Tourists around the world always search for holiday destinations of their choice. There are a large number of holiday destinations spreading across the globe. The number is so big that it may create an utter confusion at the time of choosing your spot. Each of the continents is replete with many natural and man-made wonders and is waiting fervently to welcome the tourists from around the world. Below here is a list of top Holiday Destinations for 2011.

2011 Top Vacation Destinations

It is indeed a difficult task to select the best. Whatsoever, we have identified few best Destinations for your convenience.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In this Brazilian city, you can find the wonderful combination of sun, sea, glamour, glitz and of course samba. Fabulous beaches, beautiful seaside patios, and the presence of a large number of resorts, restaurants, night clubs and bars have added to the city’s attraction. In addition to this, exciting city is going to host the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. Naturally, major developments are taking place, drawing huge crowds to the city.

South Africa

This year only the country successfully hosted 2010 Soccer World Cup. It can be a great idea to visit this place in 2011 for holidaying as all the necessary arrangements for the visitors are still very much there in the country. It boasts of breathtaking natural beauty, wonderful beaches and an exciting repertoire of wildlife. On the other side, cities such as Cape Town, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch are indeed rich in culture and history. Aside from these, the world-famous wines, trekking in the Table Mountain and the amazing whales off Hermanus are major tourist draws.

Doha, Qatar

Doha, Qatar can be one of the best place to visit. The Doha-Tribeca Film Festival is drawing a large number of visitors to this place. Next year will be the third edition of this event-Doha is indeed trying hard to make it a big international event. The city is hosting Asian Cup Soccer in the month of January. All these have made Doha an exciting place for holiday vacation in 2011.

Stockholm, Sweden

The city is home to many under-rated wonders and discoveries. Tourists flocking to this city must visit places like the streets of medieval Gamla Stan and the Royal Palace. One of the major attractions of this Scandinavian city is the Djurgården. This Game Park is famous for wonderful green spaces, scenic beauty, events and parks. It will definitely not be a bad idea visit the capital of Sweden for 2011 holidays.

FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa – Scaffold and Formwork Contractors

The FIFA World Cup 2010 Football Tournament (Soccer World Cup to South Africans) is a mere 20 months away and South Africa is truly abuzz with preparations. There is an enormous amount of pressure on South Africa to execute a successful and memorable tournament and work has begun in full force to ensure that the tournament is fault-free.

Construction and Scaffolding is Key

The construction sector is booming and reaping the benefits of these preparations as stadiums are built along with new roads and freeways. Buildings, suburbs and districts are being renovated to create an attractive, first-world image of South Africa to visiting foreigners and television audiences from around the world.

Scaffolding is imperative to the preparatory processes as scaffolding is required for not only various formwork and construction projects, but also to provide safe and easy access for renovations and restorations.

Roads

The influx of people into South Africa for the World Cup, and especially into the main cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, requires that many infrastructure upgrades be made in these cities. The Department of Transport has been given a budget of R92-billion to bring the standard of the roads up to a level where they can cope with the enormous influx of traffic.

In Cape Town, the freeway system has always been relatively small and unable to cope with the volume of everyday traffic in and out of town. Roads are being widened to cope with the increased traffic that 2010 will bring. Many other cities are expanding their road infrastructure and repairing problems such as potholes. Scaffolding is used to build these new roads and complete the necessary formwork for the new infrastructure.

Buildings and Structures

In 2010 host cities, hotels are being built, old buildings are being restored to their former attractiveness and ‘bad’ areas are being cleaned up. The older buildings that are being restored are a mixture of high-rise blocks and smaller structures and scaffolding is needed to complete all of these adjustments and new structures.

Scaffolding is needed in the restoration process to allow workers access to high and difficult places to reach, whilst maintaining the safety of the workmen and bystanders.

Airports

One of the major construction projects taking place to accommodate the World Cup in 2010 is the expansion of South Africa’s main airports. Over R5.2-billion has been invested in developing South Africa’s airports to world-class standards. Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have seen the majority of expansions, especially Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Airport which has benefitted from a R1.6-billion investment to develop the central terminal.

The terminal is linked to the Gautrain, a high speed train which will travel from OR Tambo Airport to Johannesburg.

Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg airports have had their existing parking facilities upgraded to large, multi-story parkades to allow sufficient parking for the influx of visitors. R132-million has been budgeted for refurbishments at national airports which will provide temporary facilities during the tournament.

Stadiums

There are five stadiums which are being constructed from new, adding to the stadiums already existing in South Africa. Green Point Stadium in the Western Cape (the previous Green Point Stadium was demolished in 2007), the Peter Mokaba Sports Complex, the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban are under construction currently to be finished for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The FNB Stadium, Ellis Park in Johannesburg and Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane, along with the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in North West and Vodacom Park in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) are in the process of being upgraded to increase capacity and improve facilities.

These stadiums require enormous engineering feats and advanced use of scaffolding and formwork to ensure that the structures are completed on time and in good quality to achieve the maximum success for South Africa in hosting the tournament.

The FIFA World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world. All eyes will be on South Africa to perform not only on the field, but also as a host country. With current construction underway, scaffolding is helping engineers and contractors to achieve top results in less time, with less man power but with the maximum safety available.

1999 FIFA World Youth Championship – Flying Eagles Wobble and Fumble At Home

In 1999, Nigeria won the right to host the 12th edition of the FIFA World Youth Championship. That was the year; the Flying Eagles were tagged «wobbling and fumbling». They started their World Cup campaign on home soil on a rather embarrassing note, with a 1-1 draw against lowly rated Costa Rica with Julius Aghahowa scoring the opener in the 20th minutes of play, before picking up their act against Germany, whom they defeated 2-0. The goals were scored by Ganiyu Shittu and Hashimu Garba in the 69th and 81st Minutes respectively.

Their last group match was against Paraguay, and they fumbled before a capacity crowd that had come to cheer them to victory. The game against Paraguay ended in favor of Paraguay 2-1 with Ganiyu Shittu scoring the consolation goal in the 38th Minutes of play. The Flying Eagles however managed to qualify for the round of 16 by the skin of their teeth.

In the round of 16, the Flying Eagles labored to secure a 1-1 draw against Ireland with the equalizing goal coming from diminutive striker Pius Ikedia in the 70th Minute. The game then went into penalty shoot out, and millions of Nigerians had their heart in their mouth throughout the duration of the kicks. It eventually went in the way of the Flying Eagles who scrapped through 5-3. Pius Ikedia, Gbenga Okunowo, John Aranka, Eddy Dombraye and Ganiyu Shittu all converted their spot kicks. Thomas Heary of the Republic of Ireland missed his spot kick to set a Quarter final pairing between Nigeria and Mali.

The Flying Eagles had their work cut out, as found the Malians too hot to handle in the quarterfinal clash played at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in Enugu eastern Nigeria. The Malians were so ruthless in the quarterfinal clash, that they inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the hapless Eagles who could not fly when it mattered most. The chief tormentor of the Flying Eagles was Malian enterprising midfielder Seydou Keita who later emerges as the Adidas Golden ball award winner.

The defeat of the hapless Flying Eagles caused a lot of uproar in the sporting circle, with the eventual sack of Dutch Coach Thijs Libregts from the technical crew of the Nigeria U-20 National team. The team had a lot of potentials, but they could not fully utilize their full potential. Some notable players from that team include: Joseph Yobo, Rabiu Afolabi, Julius Aghahowa, Haruna Babangida and Late goalkeeper Sam Okoye.

2010 FIFA World Cup – South Africa, to Be Or Not to Be?

I love football. Football is life. Football is the beautiful game. I am getting rushes of adrenalin to the head already just thinking about the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In 2010 the entire pumped-up and emotive football world will descend in a riotous show of bliss upon majestic South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Will South Africa be ready for them?

In 2006 FIFA chief Sepp Blatter made it very clear that there was to be no doubt about the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held in South Africa: «Plan A… Plan B… Plan C is that the 2010 World Cup will be staged in South Africa». The only contingency plan that would see South Africa not host the cup would be due to a natural catastrophe. In the same year, on behalf of Blatter in an address to the South African Parliment FIFA communications director Markus Seigler reinforced the notion that South Africa is doing just fine: «You are absolutely on schedule, you’re absolutely on track. You’re even more advanced than the Germans were four years ago…Any doubts are completely unfair. This country – and I know this country – is absolutely capable.» Seigler capped it off with acknowledging that the previous host, Germany, had also faced adversity and added: «At least South Africa’s economy is growing – Germany’s is not.»

In 2008 the rumour mill has not stopped churning out doubts about whether South Africa will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Word on the street is that the 2010 World Cup preparations have been plagued by a host of problems that could compromise vital deadlines. Stadium construction delays, striking workers, security fears, transport problems and the possibility of power outages are running rampant.

Port Elizabeth stadium is one of the main venues in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is yet to be completed. Next year’s Confederations Cup, a precursor to the competition for the World Cup, was slated to take place in the stadium but has since been pulled out of the Cup.

In an interview in Die Welt newspaper published on Monday July 14th, 2008 Franz Beckenbauer confirmed the event would be held in South Africa: «We in the FIFA executive are doing everything to have the World Cup take place in South Africa, even if we have to shut an eye every now and then. But I am sure that the World Cup in South Africa will take place.»

However, Beckenbauer was out of the loop when it came to any knowledge about FIFA chief Sepp Blatter’s actively searching for countries that would be ale to host the championship in the case of a natural catastrophe. In an interview with Sky News Beckenbauer explained: «Honestly, it was a surprise for me. I myself sit in FIFA’s executive and even I don’t know who are Blatter’s candidates.»

Whether the public is getting a load of double-speak about the whole affair is debatable. But on the bright side, it has been announced that vuvuzelas will not be banned.

Vuvuzelas, sometimes referred to as ‘lepatatas’ are air horns approximately one metre in length made from plastic and commonly seen at football matches all over the world. The name is said to originate from the Zulu for «making noise» although this is hotly disputed. Others say the name originates from the fact it makes a «vuvu» sound when blown, or even comes from the township slang related to the word for «shower».

Kaizer Chiefs supporters’ spokesperson Saddam Maake who is credited with popularising the instrument was overjoyed to hear that the vuvuzela ban had been lifted: «When we got the message that vuvuzelas were going to be banned, we were disappointed. We knew it had become part of our culture and offered free entertainment during matches. I felt over the moon when I heard about the lifting of the ban.»

Critics of the instrument feel that the noise detracts from the game, but Maake explains that people need to be educated about how to use the vuvuzelas correctly: «They have to know that you cannot blow it during moments of silence and when they blow it during the game they should do it to make rhythmic music.»

The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 and has gained strength from year to year for every four years, halted only twice in1942 and 1946 by World War II.

In the eighteen FIFA tournaments that have been held seven nations have won the title. Brazil has the most World Cups team, having won the tournament five times. The current World Champions, Italy, follow with four titles, while Germany holds three. The other former champions are Uruguay (winners of the inaugural tournament) and Argentina with two titles each. England and France hold one title each.

The most recent World Cup Finals were held in Germany, where Italy was crowned the champion after beating France in the final.

We’re already half way there. Those two long years are going to creep up on us and we will be looking for cheap ticket deals and packages to South Africa sooner than we think with our hearts pumping like they were shocked by 10,000 volts in anticipation of the spectacular event that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is going to be. Bring on the joy.

Golden Rules for Successful Soccer Betting

Whenever an interested sports fan researches the topic of online betting or game predictions, he will come across an extensive array of soccer betting tips and tricks, tables, suggestions, previews and odds alongside with many other valuable pieces of information. In an attempt to help all of those football fans and fanatics who feel like they are struggling with online betting, or even those who are barely getting started now, here are some of the insights and basic guidelines of this not so complicated industry, so that you too can start earning money from betting like the many other already enjoying this opportunity.

Firstly, one of the most interesting issues involves the financial aspect and especially the money invested in betting and which is the proper way to bet for the best earnings to be collected. A correct money management is the key towards being a successful soccer betting expert. One of the tactics recommended by the best websites in the world of betting predictions football has inspired, is to split the amount of money available for betting into smaller portions, approximately 10-15 parts, and bet these smaller shares instead. This technique has turned into a general rule for all the large betting pros and is becoming a sure way to bet and win.

Secondly, and what many consider to be the most important rule, choose a great and reliable website that offers a constant flow of soccer betting tips and predictions about all the games you are interested in. With new predictions being posted every single day, you can find out the most recent news or odds in real time, so that your betting chances are at their maximum. Whether you want to find out the odds for the UEFA Champions League or know the Europa League preview, you can learn anything from specialized online platforms for betting tips. All of the professional punters take their predictions from experts in the field, so why shouldn’t you?

Thirdly, forget all of the preconceptions linked to sports betting, if you want to have a truly successful and profitable betting experience. What people generally perceive as betting advice sources, like sports news and simple rumors are nothing but small guidelines that may or may not turn into reality. The real source of accurate football predictions can only come from a more statistical research into the evolution of the teams and the composition of their players. But if statistics and results seem hard to interpret or figure out, then there is always the saving option of reading those stats in their interpreted source on the above mentioned professional websites. The only trick is to forget your previous judgments about a team’s winning force in the past and trust what the specialists have to say about it today based on statistical data.

Last, but not least, always bet on the championship you know best or have the highest amount of information about. Soccer betting online relies on knowing a bundle of facts about the games and odds of the teams playing, so it is best that you are well informed prior to placing your bet. However, if you resort to a professional betting website then they also offer extensive details and explain their predictions, so you do not need to make the research on your own. Some punters say they never bet on friendly games, because they are full of surprises, so stick to the major games from the major leagues to be surer.

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"The El Clasico With Nothing to Play for" or So They Said

The match ended with 4 goals, 8 yellow cards, a red card and lots of controversies. Pretty explosive for an El Clasico with no stakes.

The El Clasico has always been one of the most awaited football matches that features FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the biggest football clubs on the planet. The clash is not just limited to the contrasting football styles of the clubs as it is also seen as a clash between Spain and Catalunia. With such importance attached to the match, it has always lived up to the expectation of football fans. Emotions run high on the field as tempers flare and controversies and fights ensue. This Sunday’s El Clasico had been described as a damp affair even before its start as Barcelona had already won the league while Real Madrid were being cautious in preparation for the Champions League Finals. The fact that this was Iniesta’s last Clasico was the only reason most fans looked forward to the football match. There were others who reminded the fact that Barcelona had remained unbeaten during the league and cup season so far and a defeat would mean they would fail to go the full season unbeaten.

But all of that damp El Clasico talk turned into dust as Barcelona took an early lead through Luis Suarez who perfectly connected with a Sergio Roberto cross. Real Madrid soon equalized as Cristiano Ronaldo connected with Benzema’s headed pass that was set up by Toni Kroos. Both teams continued to threaten each other’s goals as chances were being created left and right. Ronaldo also picked up an injury that saw him hobbling during the rest of the half. By the end of the 40th minute, two of Real Madrid’s defenders were shown yellow cards and so were Barcelona’s Messi and Saurez. But the real controversy started when the referee failed to notice Gareth Bale’s horrible challenge on Samuel Umtiti that should have earned him a straight red card.

Things soon started getting heated up as half-time approached. A Real Madrid attack on the left flank saw a clash between Marcelo and Sergio Roberto. The latter lost as cool and threw his fist into Marcelo’s face. The referee had a clear view of this clash and showed a straight red to Roberto just at the half-time break. This meant that Barcelona had to play the entire second half, one man down.

While Barcelona were down to 10-men, Real Madrid had to substitute Ronaldo due to his first-half injury that caused a swollen ankle. Real Madrid dominated the half but were not able to create many chances. Barcelona once again took the lead as Messi scored from Suarez’s pass. There was a fierce protest from Real Madrid players as Saurez had fouled Varane in the lead up to the goal but got away with it. Real Madrid struggled to find the equalizer against a 10-man Barcelona and it was Gareth Bale who curled it in the 72nd minute to level the scoreline.

Barcelona continued to attack as a super effort from Lionel Messi was beautifully saved by Navas. Messi once again ended up close to scoring as a curling shot from him ended just wide from the post. Real Madrid too were starting to take advantage of 10-man Barcelona. Marcelo was brought down inside Barcelona’s box but the referee once again made a controversial call as Real Madrid were denied a clear penalty. Barcelona, having given a clear lifeline, continued to resist all advances from Real Madrid and hang on to dear life. Nelson Semedo brought on for Coutinho to take up Roberto’s position in defense, impressed with his speed and stamina. Finally, Semedo cleared the ball with a header as the referee blew the final whistle.

Andres Iniesta’s final El Clasico had exploded into life early on and lived up to the billing. There was applause all around has the Maestro took his one last bow.

Despite all the controversies and bad refereeing decisions, everyone was satisfied with the result. Barcelona’s manager Ernesto Valverde later exclaimed that it would have hurt if the unbeaten streak had been broken by Real Madrid, so a draw was a fair and acceptable result. As they say, even a draw means unbeaten. Everyone who saw Sunday’s El Clasico will agree that the players took to field as if everything was at stake, contrary to the belief that nothing was.

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