Top Upcoming European Soccer Matchups: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid And More

01/27/2011 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • ROB HUGHES New York Times

High adrenaline, did I say? All of the other weekend fixtures are mere warm-up acts to El Clásico. Fueled by regional identity, and decorated by some of the outstanding stars of the global game, this is the matchup the soccer world tunes in to, whatever the time of day or night. Messi vs. Ronaldo, Xavi vs. Xabi Alonso, Iniesta vs. Özil, Villa vs. Higuain, Puyol vs. Carvalho, Valdes vs. Casillas on the field. Coach Pep Guardiola vs. the self-proclaimed special coach José Mourinho on the sideline. Barcelona's passing and movement against Madrid's ability to break from defense to attack in the blink of an eye. The top two teams in the league of the world champion, Spain. It makes every other game over the weekend seem like an afternoon in the sandbox.

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