Gareth Bale And Cristiano Ronaldo Key To Real Madrid Clasico Win, Says Terry Gibson
Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Terry Gibson believes Real Madrid’s victory over Barcelona owed much to the performances of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gerard Pique gave Barcelona the lead at the Nou Camp with a towering header from Ivan Rakitic’s corner on 56 minutes, but Real swiftly levelled through Karim Benzema’s acrobatic volley.
Bale then had a goal controversially ruled out, before setting up Ronaldo for an 85th-minute winner to gain revenge for the 4-0 thrashing Barca gave Madrid earlier in the season.
Gibson insists the form of Bale and the willingness of Ronaldo to put the team first were the reasons that Madrid left Catalonia with all three points and ended the hosts’ 39-game unbeaten run.
“I’ve seen signs in recent weeks that Ronaldo is quite prepared to take up a different role in the team,” Gibson told Sky Sports News HQ.
“At the weekend he was really important. It wasn’t an eye-catching performance from Ronaldo despite getting the winning goal.
“What was really noticeable was his willingness to work within a team framework. The tactics Zinedine Zidane employed demanded Ronaldo worked hard defensively and he did that. With him and Bale, they really did carry a threat on the break and they were two really important players for Real Madrid.
“Gareth Bale was a feature of the game all night long. Down the flanks he worked really hard to nullify the threat of Barcelona and still really threaten on the counter-attack.”
In the build up to the game, there were suggestions in Spain that none of the Real Madrid famed front three would get into the Barcelona team. Gibson believes this is the case but says the comments would have been used by Los Blancos as motivation.
“It would have spurred them on but it’s been hard to make a case. Ronaldo is the top scorer in La Liga but for Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez it’s been a season of success.
“If you picked a second string front three from anywhere in the world Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema would be your front three.
“A lot of motivation would have come from the 4-0 defeat at the Bernabeu so it was a little bit of redemption for Real Madrid.”
Barcelona’s defeat means their lead over Atletico Madrid and Real is now six and seven points respectively. Gibson does not think the result will spread panic in the dressing room but will re-focus the squad for the rest of the season.
“It’s given Barcelona a little jolt,” Gibson added. “They weren’t too fussed about the unbeaten run. It was great for the club to get to 39 unbeaten and ideally they would have liked to carry that on and not lose to Real Madrid.
“But it will just give them a little bit of motivation and to make them focus a little bit more on the remaining league games and the big game against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in midweek.”