in his first game as incharge of Real Madrid vs Barcelona.
Pepe, Miguel Torres, Mahamadou Diarra, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ruben de la Red complete the absentee list.
Sniejder has recovered in time for this clash and may play.
Salgado, Ramos, Cannavaro, Metzelder, Chema Antón, Agus
Gago, Guti, Drenthe, Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Javi García
Raúl, Higuaín, Saviola, Bueno, Palencia
I think Juande Ramos has a problem at the left back position so I can’t predict on that.
Juande Ramos has tabbed Castilla’s Bueno, Agus, Chema Antón and Palanca to round out the Madridista expedition to Barcelona
I think Van Der Vaart, Guti, Gago and Drenthe are going to make up the midfield. Guti and Van Der Vaart will do all the creative tasks in the attacking side and Gago will make sure that the back four is well protected. I think, he can manage the midfield on his own.
Upfront, no doubt, it is going to be Raul and Higuain. Raul with all his experience and never say die attitude and Higuain with his electric form (which by the way, has earned him the nickname “Real Madrid’s Messi”. Now that is one nickname he will not be proud off).
The Back four may be Ramos, Cannavaro, Metzelder and one youth team player or Salgado ofcourse.
One thing I want Juande Ramos to keep in mind is that, the left back (which ever the one he chooses) must have pace otherwise Lionel Messi is going to rip his heart out, therefore, Salgado should be excluded from the possible candidate for left back.
Real Madrid have to have a plan against Barcelona’s key players. Namely, Henry, Eto’o, Messi, Keita, Xavi and ofcourse Daniel Alves.
Raul and Higuain will have to run themselves to the ground tonight in order to stop Daniel Alves joining with Messi on the flank and really creating a blizzard for Real Madrid.
Raul and Higuain must put Barcelona’s defenders under immense pressure so whenever these defenders get the ball, they are forced to smack it back towards the ball rather than relaying it to Xavi or Messi.
Xavi and Messi are both individual players, who can win games all by themselves. It is just unfair to have so much talent in one single team. Messi is the speed daemon and Xavi is the Sniper.
Xavi can quietly destroy the opponents defence without leaving a trace with his slick and accurate passing. He can control the game like hell with his skills and vision for thegame.
Messi,doesn’t need to do that. He can just pick up the ball and start running. No one has the legs to stay with him let alone tackle him.
Real Madrid will have to play as a unit tonight, otherwise, we could well be looking at a score of 4 to 6-0 for Barcelona.
Casillas is going to have to bring out his A game, not the one he displayed in the previous 2 weeks. Gago, is going to have to work really hard and help out both the wing backs against Messi and Henry.
Raul and Higuain will have to be sharp tonight. This Barcelona defence is way more stubborn than the last season one. We will have to convert, any chance that falls in our path otherwise Barcelona will punish us.
Casillas will probably get bombarded with shots from all corners. Messi from the left and Henry from the right. Eto’o from the middle too.
I think this game (for Real Madrid) is going to be decided by a piece of magic football like the one Real Madrid created last time at Camp Nou, Baptista and Van Nistelrooy were the stars in that goal. Both are not present in this game.
Robben and Robinho, both are not available for this game (who also performed at a very high level last time in Camp Nou). The Later will never be available though.
If Sniejder plays at his best, I think Real Madrid will win and if Real Madrid win, I am dead sure that Real Madrid will win the title come the end of the season.
If Real Madrid draw, than I think Barcelona is going to sweep this year’s title and I am not even going to think about Real Madrid loosing this match because if that happens. Juande Ramos will get the sack no matter what, at the end of the season (assuming he doesn’t win the Champions League)
Here are some pre match comments from Juande Ramos
How well prepared for the Barcelona match do you think your team is?
I think the players are very excited about it. You don’t need to do much to motivate them. We have to climb positions in the league and we are convinced of our chances to win tomorrow. There’s never a clear favorite.
Do you think Sergio Ramos is the ‘antidote’ for Messi?
Sergio has my total support. I’m sure everyone will do a good job. Playing with five defenders is a valid possibility because one must use different systems to achieve the goals at hand.
What do you think of Barcelona?
There’s nothing I can say to highlight how good they are. They are playing very well and we will therefore have to pay attention to several aspects of their game. I think we can manage.
Do you think your team can pull off a draw? Will Sneijder play?
I only think about winning the match. ‘Draw’ is a word that doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. The doctors are thinking about what to do with Sneijder tomorrow. We miss several players and we must also take good care of the ones we still have.
You won at Camp Nou several years ago with Rayo Vallecano. How did you motivate your men back then?
I really don’t remember. All I remember is that there were two or three games left in the season and that nothing was at stake for us, so we won.
Barcelona are clear favourites on all the betting boards…
Then tomorrow is clearly a great day in which to become a millionaire if you bet on us.
What do you know of De la Red’s situation?
I’ve only focused on the technical aspects of the game. I only know I won’t be able to count on him.
You managed to defeat Barcelona also in the European Super Cup when they were clear favourites…
This situation reminds me of that one. Everyone bet on Barça to win, and that greatly motivated us.
Have you started to leave your mark on the team?
It will be more noticeable as time moves on. This is the first day in which we’ve managed to properly train with the squad. It’s normal for the players not to be sure of what I expect of them at this stage.
How’s the morale on the squad?
The victory against Zenit has done us a lot of good. My players’ confidence is greater than before the clash and we hope it will be even greater next week if we win tomorrow.
What do you think of the job Guardiola is doing as Barcelona’s coach?
Guardiola is doing a great job and could begin a new era if he continues to do this well. The team plays excellent football, but their style can be fought with hard work and high levels of concentration. I think we can win tomorow.
What will be the key to winning the game?
The start of the match will be very important. Our confidence could be undermined if we concede an early goal, but I think we can win even if that happens.
You are the boss of six Dutch players…
Good players always have room on any team. They must have done something well in order to be here. They will have to do their best for the Club. I believe Van der Vaart and Sneijder can play together.
Come on Real Madrid, I know we can do this. Yes, we can, YES!!! we can. let’s do it. Let’s go. Let’s hurt someone. Go Madrid. Do it for the fans.