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Guardiola's Barcelona or Zidane's Madrid: Picking one from these two legendary teams

It is almost impossible to pick one of the two, but we do the impossible by choosing one.


Malaga CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Champions of Spain

This debate had to happen, didn’t it? Madrid and Barca are like two sides of the same coin; they just aren’t complete without each other. As Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid won its seventh title in the last 19 months, the trumpets have been blared and the debates are up: Zidane’s magnificent Madrid or Pep’s brilliant Barca?

Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona were a thing of beauty. Winning a treble in their very first season, that Barcelona team went on to dominate Europe and Spain until Guardiola left in 2012. Between his arrival in 2008 till his departure in 2012, the Catalans won an astonishing 14 titles including the Champions League twice and the league title three times. 

He also won the Copa del Rey, the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup twice each and the Spanish Super Cup three times, winning every possible trophy in the process.

Meanwhile, Zidane has done something similar as he already has half the amount of trophies as Guardiola did with Barcelona and has won the Champions League twice in a row – all in the space of just 19 months.

While it is not really advisable to compare two successful teams, we, as humans, have this inscrutable tendency to evaluate things with similar other things – and so we will make an attempt to compare the two teams and decide which team was/is better.


Goalkeeper

Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Victor Valdes was the one Guardiola trusted between the sticksVictor Valdes guarded the net for Barcelona under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. While he had the tendency to make the odd error every now and then, Valdes’ distribution was something that played a key role in realising the style that Pep Guardiola envisaged from his team.

The Catalan keeper was never afraid to take on the onrushing forward and was always off his line and cleared surging long-balls with zeal. However, as mentioned above, he was prone to making silly errors and actually conceded quite a few goals because of it.

His positional awareness while stopping shots wasn’t the best either as he was quite often beaten at the near post as well.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga
Keylor Navas has so far been one of the unsung heroes for Real Madrid

Unlike his predecessors, Zidane didn’t have to worry much about the goalkeeping issue since he had only Keylor Navas and Kiko Casilla at his disposal and not club legend, Iker Casillas. The decision was straightforward: Navas was to be his first-choice.

The Costa Rican’s first season as first-choice was near-perfect as his saves kept Real alive in many games. His valiant efforts in goal helped the club win the Champions League. The next season, however, wasn’t as good as his first as he made quite a few errors for the Madridistas to insist for Kiko Casilla in goal rather than the former Levante man.

Regardless, he picked up form by the end of the season and helped the club lift a double come June.

Speaking of skills, his distribution is very poor, but he is an excellent shotstopper with unbelievable reflex skills. When compared with Valdes, he falls way short in terms of footwork but is a better keeper when shot-stopping and handling are concerned.

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