Game Analysis: FC Barcelona – Real Madrid 5:0

Ververidis Vasilis /

Coach2 – Classic Game: El Clasico 2010

29.November 2010 I FC Barcelona – Real Madrid 5:0 (La Liga)

When Mourinho left Inter Milan for Madrid a few months earlier in a foggy night, the job was clear: break Barcelona’s dominance. But what he was supposed to achieve with Inter Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions League ended in a disaster for Los Blancos in his first “El Clasico”.

At Real, not everyone has to defend – Messi fires the first warning shot

Right from the start there was a big problem in Real Madrid’s game: Ronaldo was apparently not allowed / should not defend. In Barca possession he was very much based on Abidal. Due to Abidal’s less offensive position, there was basically even a good position in the event of a ball win in Madrid midfield.

Comment: Ronaldo does not defend with, does not directly mean that he is lazy. Nor is it automatically negative for Real. Every idea in the field has advantages and disadvantages. The job of a trainer is to weigh these up against each other and make the best decisions.

Problem with the story: The ball wins simply did not exist. With the midfield consisting of Di Maria, Alonso, Khedira and Özil, almost no ball wins could be generated to attack via this pattern. One reason why Mourinho (presumably) swapped Özil for Diarra at halftime.

Achieving ball wins was also difficult because Di Maria often orientated himself on the offensive Dani Alves and thus disclosed accessible pass paths into the center, which Busqutes, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi used at will.

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This in combination with the failure to bring the row back by Ronaldo resulted in numerous attacks by Barcelona that started on the right and were carried over short pass paths into the left half-space. And as if those weren’t enough problems for the capitals, Messi showed your outstanding form early on.


After just ten minutes, the 98,772 spectators saw the first goal using this pattern. Messi leaves his position and plays in front of the midfield row. Xavi moves forward and plays between four opponents. On the left, Iniesta, Pedro and Villa are bustling about. Pedro also plays between four opponents and provokes Pepe to leave. However, the ball goes to Iniesta, who briefly moves the ball inside. It is well known that Iniesta can play almost every minimally accessible pass path, but that he can still find the incoming Xavi is no less than world class. Carvalho is simply overwhelmed in the situation. Pepe is out and he defends Pedro and Xavi (Marcelo only comes from outside). Xavi lifts the ball over Iker Casillas: 1-0.

“A divine Barca humiliates Real and Mourinho. The Catalans confirm their dominance in the Primera Division impressively. Pep Guardiola, who as coach of FC Barcelona has always won against the Madrilenians so far, gives Mourinho a lesson. "

Barcelonas Mix aus Organisation und Kreativität

With all movements without the ball and occasional changes of position, one thing always remained the same: The depth and relative breadth remained occupied. No matter whether Pedro, Villa, Alves or in a few cases Abidal: There was a pass station on each side at the level of the defensive chain, which above all ensured that the defensive chain around Pepe in all movements, especially Messi, did not go completely forward could.


The Catalans’ second goal underlined this organization. The attack starts from the right side with Pedro in possession. A short shift to the center on Xavi causes major problems through accessible pass paths to Messi in the depths and Iniesta, who moves between two opponents – in this case between Pepe and Ramos. Ramos is (rightly) afraid of the chip ball in the middle, as he has to control the greatest threat to his own goal. This opens up the possibility of a longer ball, which puts Villa in a good position for a one-on-one. Remarkable: Pedro, who previously touched the ball on the right wing and was still uncomfortably aware of Marcelo, radiated maximum scoring danger and executed directly in front of Marcelo. In total, Barcelona played 21 passes in 48 seconds to score.

Little hope in winning the ball

Another characteristic of this Barca team was their excellent ability to exert pressure after losing the ball. The short pass paths in possession of the ball almost always automatically led to the best positioning if the ball was lost. Especially the possibility of escaping vertically from the pressure on Ronaldo or Benzema was consequently prevented by the opponent access by Busquets and the two central defenders. If at all, Real came out of pressure with return passes: countermeasures equal to zero. Real did not score the opposing goal in the second half.


The second half changed next to nothing, only made it worse for the white ballet. Ronaldo and Benzema only defended in a few cases and Barcelona only faced eight defenders most of the time. Numerous chances even before the 3-0 in the 55th minute were based precisely on this loss of control in the center, which was triggered by the non-defending striker. They often found Messi on the left wing, who moved the ball into the center from there and served the incoming players. At 3-0, Messi finally gets the ball from the right wing with a view of the opposing goal. Khedira and Diarra never bring their ranks back in the scene, Alonso closes an open pass path into the depths, which gives Messi free time and space. A perfect pass to Villa destroys the last hopes for a positive result from Real’s point of view. It was precisely because of these situations that Villa fit perfectly into the Blaugrana game at the time. Even better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had given up the previous summer. With his perfectly timed short steps on accessible pass paths in depth in combination with an inimitable finish, as well as hard work against the ball, he rounded off the overall picture of Barcelona this season.

"I'm very happy, especially with our game. There is still a long way to go before the championship. We're not much better than Real Madrid. It was just a game."

(Not only) Madrid's unsolvable problem

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An outstanding principle, which was not only prominent in this game, above all reveals the talent of Lionel Messi: to position yourself between two opponents. The pass path is as short as possible, a player from the offensive area moves (for example) into the opposing midfield row and receives the ball there. In this case, the Madrid central defenders are faced with the problem of whether they should follow him and, if so, how far. If Pepe or Carvalho follow little Flo, they tear a huge hole behind them with numerous accessible pass paths. If they do not exert pressure, Messi can move the ball onto the defensive chain. The two midfielders can try, if at all, to recapture the row, but will usually be late. A problem that eventually led to many teams operating with a chain of five defenses that made a pursuit possible.


The fourth goal of the evening proved that Barcelona not only had possession of the ball, but also mastered all the other elements of the game. Messi is unstoppable after winning the ball, overall you had the feeling that he was no longer of this world in the second round, even without a goal of his own, and played the ball again on Villa, which created our thumbnail.


It wouldn’t have been an El Clasico if it hadn’t gotten a little ugly with such a clear result. The last 30 minutes were marked by numerous fouls, packs, yellow cards and finally a dismissal.

Fortunately, the end point was footballing. Actually, no deeper analysis of the content is appropriate, because Real ran wildly at every player and wanted to exert pressure (not to say foul). Nevertheless, in terms of football, Iniesta and substitute Bojan Krikic play the space behind the defensive chain, while Jeffren, also substituted, completes.

After the game, Mourinho was unusually humble: “One team played at the highest level, the other very poorly. We gave Barca two goals on the verge of ridicule. We knew we couldn’t give them much space, but that’s exactly what we did we did. It wasn’t a humiliation, but the worst defeat of my career. “

Stories about the game:

  • The game was played by 13 players who won the 2010 World Cup with the Spanish national team.
  • Real Madrid had been unbeaten under Mourinho until then.
  • It was the first Clásico for Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira.
  • Özil was replaced at halftime.
  • For the first time in 26 years, two Germans took part in this duel.
  • Barcelona had up to 75 percent possession in the early stages.
  • After the win, Real lost the championship lead to Barcelona.
  • It was the fifth victory in a row for FC Barcelona over Real Madrid.
  • The Catalans have won against Real four times by then 5-0.
  • It was the first time in his coaching career that José Mourinho had conceded five goals and the sixth time that he lost by more than three goals.
  • It was Jose Mourinho’s first defeat as Los Blancos. Previously, he was unbeaten in 25 test and competitive games and conceded a total of only 6 goals.
  • Sergios Ramos saw his 10th red card in stoppage time. Up until that point, he and Fernando Hierro were the Real Real players with the most dismissals. But, while Hierro needed 439 games for his 10 cards, Ramos only needed 175 games.

What happened next:

  • In January 2011 Lionel Messi won the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Iniesta and Xavi came in second and third.
  • The second leg on April 16, 2011 ended 1:1.
  • At the end of the season, Barcelona took the championship four points ahead of Real.
  • On April 20th, 2011 there was the Clásico in the Copa del Rey final. Here Real won 0-1 in stoppage time. Christiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in the 103rd minute.
  • Barcelona won the Champions League in May. In the semifinals they won again against Real Madrid (first leg 0-2; second leg 1-1)
  • Messi became the competition’s top scorer with 12 goals.
  • In the following season, Real Madrid won the championship with 100 points and 121 goals. Nobody else had done that before.

Relive the entire Game

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