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Once upon a time, the El Clasico dates were perhaps the two most important dates in league football calendars, but now it appears to be a shadow of itself, with the hype around it seeming dwindling as the years have progressed.

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There are a number of reasons that have led to this reduced hype and anticipation towards the matches. One of such is the change in personnel of coaches. The biggest period of the El Clasico was during the time Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were coaches of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively. The comic characters of these coaches and increased fueling of their alleged dislike for each other by the media, made the El Clasico a very looked forward to event.

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Also, the characters, charisma and top tier of the players involved in the matches earlier made it a huge joy to watch. Once upon a time, we had the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Marcelo, Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol, Nacho, Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Neymar and Luis Suarez, all lining up on the pitch with deep rivalry amongst themselves, increasing the tension and aggression on the pitch. 

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Then we had the rivalry between two of the greatest players of all time, the Argentine wizard Lionel Messi and the Portuguese goal scoring machine, Cristiano Ronaldo. The argument for who the better player is served as a catalyst for the intense rivalry between the two clubs. With Ronaldo moving to Juventus and ongoing problems at Barcelona, it has reduced the anticipation and hype towards the matches. 

It’s quite clear the problem with the El Clasico is largely down to the personnel’s involved in the match, but it could additionally be attributed to the growth of other teams in the league. Once upon a time, the El Clasico usually decided whose more likely to win the league, but now that has largely been reduced. Same as the Manchester Derby between Manchester United and Manchester City, also the Milan Derby.

There is however hope at the end, with the likes of Vinicius, Ansu Fati, Martin Odegaard coming through the ranks, the El Clasico might return to the top where it truly belongs. The beauty of the game can never disappear, only could diminish. 

By Muyiwa aguda

see also: Weekend Football: El Clasico In Spain FA Cup Semifinals In England

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