The Cup is not the most important, until it becomes the most important. Real Madrid and Barcelona are measured this Wednesday in the second classic of the season, the first of the three that will play until March 3 and who knows if there will be more in the Champions League. The Cup draw has crossed them in a decisive moment of the course, when nothing is gained yet, but you can lose everything. In addition, on the other side Valencia-Betis, with the first game at Mestalla, will play a place in the final
The last time they met in the Cup was at the end of 2014, with Ancelotti on the bench and with Bale leaving Bartra behind, as if the Madridista was on the train and the Barça defender was walking. It has been one of the memorable moments of the Welshman in the white team. Later, the Cup became a curse for Madrid, due to administrative errors or not knowing how to handle the times. January was a Via Crucis, the moment when crises broke out with defeats in the playoffs against minor teams, while the Barca continued to advance and won the next four Cups. It is true, that Madrid then was remaking enough to reach the Champions League final and win it.
Solari has changed the face of white players and now aspire to play a good role in all competitions without having to play everything on the Champions card. But the company promises. Madrid plays this weekend against Alavés, on Wednesday against Barcelona, on Saturday against Atlético, the following Wednesday against Ajax, then receives Girona, rests a week to play the weekend against Levante. And the month ends with the week facing Barcelona (Wednesday 27), the weekend at Barcelona, but in the League, and the following Tuesday, March 5, the return of the Champions against Ajax. If someone wanted strong emotions in winter, there he has them.
Barcelona will also have to make an extra effort now: on Saturday it hosts Valencia, faces Madrid on Wednesday and travels to San Mamés the following weekend. But the next week he does not play until he receives Valladolid. That's right: afterwards he has Champions, he travels to Seville and the double confrontation against Real Madrid. The azulgrana calendar is not bad either.
If both teams thought about the rotations and give minutes to not get exhausted when they decide the championships, they will not have much time to do them. Not only because of the load of parties, but also because of the importance of them. They will have to wear out their best men in this marathon of football and strong emotions without being able to give them a break. They will have to see how they do to recover and get the usual owners rest and that the team does not lower the competitive level in other games that, in principle, seem minor.
The classic, even in the Copa del Rey, marks everything. The first of the season, with Lopetegui still in the white bench ended with a 5-1 against a Madrid then in freefall without solution. He has found it and it has been redone. It is up to him to demonstrate that he has recovered the competitive spirit that, at this time, in recent years, has made him the champion of always.