FC Barcelona – Real Madrid: the downfall of gambler Julen Lopetegui (5-1)

Julen Lopetegui has given his own board an eye-opener. In a bad way, that is. The manager of Real Madrid failed in El Clásico on the tactical level, right when he needed to succeed the most. Barcelona benefited, despite a bold and effective countermove from Lopetegui during half-time. The former Spanish national team manager needs a miracle to save his job. Or the cellphone number of Cristiano Ronaldo. That could work too.

‘Never have I ever’ is such a nice game. It’s fun, can go on for hours, involves alcohol and is the ideal way to learn something new about people you think you know better than they know themselves. If you ever get the opportunity to play this game with Julen Lopetegui, this should be your question: ‘Never have I ever found a way to be dominant against teams who tend to have the ball more than my own team.’ You better set aside some shots for the poor man.

It was written in the stars that this Clásico would be one to remember. Not only was it the first one without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2007, it was also the one opportunity Lopetegui had left to prove himself as manager of Real Madrid.

With only Daniel Carvajal injured, Lopetegui lined-up almost the same eleven that beat Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League last Tuesday. Raphaël Varane came back in the traditional 4-3-3 formation of Lopetegui, moving up Nacho to the right back position.

Ernesto Valverde picked Clément Lenglet as the replacement of the injured Samuel Umtiti, while Rafinha had the unenviable task of replacing Lionel Messi. Barcelona started with the same . . .

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Guillaume Maebe (28) loves collecting shirts of players who haven’t achieved anything in their career. Works for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad where he focuses on football stories, online development and – oh, yes – tactical analysis. Played football until the age of 18. Nowadays wanders around telling people how his poor back has prohibited him of becoming a professional football player. [ View all posts ]

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