Sky Sports are advertising tomorrow nights match-up between Manchester United and Real Madrid as ‘the Perfect Match’ – which basically menas that no matter how good it actually is, it’s going to fail to meet up to the hype! But are Sky right – is this game the most eagerly awaited clash since 2006?
On the face of it, Sky probably aren’t too far wrong. Real Madrid were recently named as the richest club in the world (making over 500m euros in a year), which means they are probably also the most watched / seen – they will have made all that lovely lucre by selling the commercial rights to either their tv rights, or possibly just the use of the badge, etc. Manchester United, meanwhile, are the third richest club, behind just Barcelona. So this is the biggest club in the world facing off against the 3rd biggest.
Surely the ‘Perfect Match’ would feature the top 2? I think probably not. With Real vs Barcelona there is too much of a Spanish feel, with the domestic rivalries and politics getting in the way of what is simply a game of football. Fans across the globe will have certain pre-conceptions about the Spanish game (good or bad), so you would only get fans interested in Spanish football tuning in to watch the game.
The viewing figures vary for La Liga and Premiership across the different world markets, with some preferring ths brutish British version, so by pitching the top team from each league its likely that more people would watch than Barca vs Real. I think this will probably be the most watched Champions League game in many years – especially since Chelsea vs Bayern hardly set the pulses racing in last years final.
What makes for a perfect game? It’s having the right mix of attacking intent and defensive fragility so that we see plenty of goal chances, about giving the strikers enough freedom to create something magical from the little space they have, and about pairing up some of the world’s best players against each other. Who doesn’t want to see Ronaldo take Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to pieces? Who doesn’t want to see RVP and Wayne Rooney linking up to nutmeg Sergio Ramos and Pepe?! It’s Evra vs Di Maria, Valencia vs Ozil, Carrick vs Kaka… the list goes on!
Throw into the mix the managers – Mourinho and Ferguson – and you suddenly have a boiling pot of just about everything. Anything could happen, with either one of them ready to berate the ref, poke each other in the eye, or storm off down the sidelines.
What makes this tie all the more intriguing is that whilst both United and Real both have fantastic squads of players and moments of brilliance in them, they also have flaws – Real are currently 12 points off the pace in La Liga having struggled to beat teams who ‘park the bus’, and United have sometimes struggled to get out of second gear, although this hasn’t seemed to have harmed their Championship hopes!? Putting too much trust in Evra and Rafael to shackle Ronaldo will inevitably lead to space for the Portuguese wonderboy/man, and that means chances.
It makes for a cracking match, and might just well be the Perfect Match for both Sky and the fans.
Agree? Disagree? Tweet me – @ftbllr