The stage was set, people rushing into the stadium to get their seats; some returning dissapointed after seeing the “SOLD OUT” sign.
All over the world, people made one final prediction and prepared themselves a little snack as they waited for 90 of the most anticipated minutes in the La Liga calendar.
It was none other than the El Clasico!
The El Clasico, this time round, had about 10.6 million tuned in from all around the world. However, what takes place in the following 90 minutes on a regular basis is not something that pleases the fans. No matter how strong the two forces might be, the El Clasico fails to reach out to the majority; or that’s what I think, anyway.
The El Clasico has the stage set for an array of stars waiting to mesmerise the fans. With the likes of Mesut Ozil, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Benzema, Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Villa, Messi and the list goes on, but the result is often instigated by either the brilliance of Messi or the determination of Ronaldo. But often these matches are marred by controversy, which take the front pages of Sports Magazines all around the world. Is it worth all the hype and excitement?
In recent years, City has made massive progress, from being a mere mid-table side, to title holders. Their progress has been rapid. For years, Manchester United had dominated these derbies. Rewind to 2006 and the Manchester Derby seemed to be nothing but an easy 3 point acquisition for the red half of Manchester. But ever since the big City takeover, the balance has definitely been restored. Unpredictable, edge-of-the-seat action, pulsating attacking football and a nervous stoppage time, that’s what the Manchester Derby offers. It doesn’t seem so long ago, when Nani collected a rather mistimed pass from Scholes and jinked a cross into the box, which was met by the excellence and genius of Wayne Rooney to send the Stretford end into a frenzy. Who can ever forget the late winner which was scored by the most unlikeliest of scorers, Michael Owen, that provoked the sacking of Mark Hughes ?
Or the humiliation of 6-1 faced by the Old Trafford faithful ? In comparison with the El Clasico of recent times, The Manchester Derby is definitely value for your money.
Even the likes of Diego Maradona have accepted that the battle for Manchester has no equals in the world of football.
In terms of TV listings and fan support, the El Clasico is the clear favourite but purely in terms of football, the Manchester Derby stands out.
Would you sit through 90 minutes of the most anticipated, yet, snappish football? Sure the Manchester Derby might not be completely clear of controversy, especially with the likes of Balotelli involved, but when the teams are on the pitch, awesome football is all you get.
At the end of the day, both matches have provided some real classics. But in my opinion, The Manchester Derby stands out.