Messi the greatest in my lifetime, Vinicius most mouthwatering prospect in El Clasico: Joe Morrison
"I want to see that boy running at the Barcelona defence this weekend," screamed an excited Joe Morrison in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda in the build-up to this weekend's El Clasico, in La Liga 2018-19, saying Vinicius Junior will be Real Madrid's game-changer.
Morrison rubbished talk of any diminishing significance of this fixture, even as it comes hot on the heels of the Copa del Rey semifinal between the two Spanish giants.
"If you'd asked me this in the autumn, I'd have said maybe. Real were in the worst possible run of form, Barcelona didn't have Lionel Messi, so maybe that wasn't the greatest advertisement for the El Clasico," he said.
Morrison, the host for the Facebook Watch live studio show for LaLiga, who has been at the helm of broadcasts on the Sony Ten Network, said that there was no chance that this fixture would assume any less significance. "Real Madrid want that gap down to six points, and let the mental goblins in Barcelona's head take over."
Morrison questioned Barcelona's mental strength, as he doubted whether the youngsters in the Barcelona squad like Arthur Melo and Clement Lenglet could maintain their standards with the additional pressure of the title race.
Morrison stuck his neck out with a brave claim, that he'd prefer Real Madrid's defence every day of the week."It's not even a question. Sergio Ramos, [Raphael] Varane, Dani Carvajal and [Sergio] Reguilon have been superb since the FIFA Club World Cup, and that's so much better than Barcelona at the moment."
The Englishman scoffed at Barcelona's defence, saying that minus Jordi Alba, the La Liga leaders' defence was pretty close to a joke. "Umtiti has been injured, Lenglet isn't really setting the world on fire, and I don't know what planet Pique's on this season."
He stressed that he would love watching Vinicius run at Nelson Semedo or Sergi Roberto, whoever starts at right-back for Barcelona. "Semedo isn't a very good defender, and while Roberto is versatile, I don't think right-back is his best position," said Morrison.
Midfield is where most football games are won or lost, and Morrison doesn't believe there's any reason to think otherwise ahead of this one. Morrison went on to say, "Modric and Kroos have blown hot and cold all season, but Barcelona have problems, too, with Arthur injured. [Arturo] Vidal really isn't a Barca player, from what I have seen."
"It's not a slight at him, but just what I see. His positioning, his movement, he doesn't seem like the exact fit for Valverde's style."
The regular on Indian TV also said he hoped that this game would go on to be remembered for just the football, and not anything outside it, such as the referees. He also stressed on the need to change the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
"I'm a huge fan of VAR, it gave us, for me, the best World Cup of all time. But why can't the VAR official just make the decision instead of relaying it back to the on-field official. I don't want to be making decisions with Ramos, Pique and 90,000 fans on my head," he opined.
Morrison hoped that it would be a close game, and that on a Saturday night, the watching public gets their money's worth of action.
He closed with a simple line: "Lionel Messi is the greatest player in my lifetime, and there will never be anyone close to that, even after he is done."
Watch the El Clasico live and exclusively on Facebook Watch on 3rd March 2019 from 0:15am IST (On-Air Time), 1:15am IST (Kick-Off Time)