The BBC vs Barcelona: Ronaldo’s strike partners must step up

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale held the UCL Title in smiles
(Image credit: Sportskeeda)

The star forward might lead Los Blancos against Barcelona on Sunday.

Real Madrid will begin their second title challenge this season against rivals Barcelona. The crucial fixture is the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa de Espana final. The game will be played at the Estadio Camp Nou.

Last Tuesday, the Whites claimed their first trophy in a 2-1 UEFA Super Cup final win against Manchester United in Skopje, Macedonia. Los Merengues gaffer Zinedine Zidane rested Cristiano Ronaldo and featured his usual attacking mates Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

The number 7 man had just returned from his long vacation with his family in Ibiza. He lacked match fitness as he joined training only three days before the showdown against his former club.

But the 32-year-old is vital to the strategy of Zindedine Zidane. The Frenchman substituted Karim Benzema for the Portuguese icon in the 83rd minute. The Clasico is the biggest game per Real Madrid’s history and as it draws closer, the 45-year-old coach will count on his BBC to deliver once again.

Bale and Benzema MUST turn up and support Cristiano in El Clasico.

With the four-time Ballon d’Or winner rumored to start the clash at the Camp Nou, his offensive teammates must shine in this blockbuster encounter.

Although adored for their three UEFA Champions League successes, fans will expect more from the highly rated talents. Let’s have a breakdown of the BBC’s record against their eternal rivals on the domestic front.

2013/14: The first BBC season

Welshman Gareth Bale joined the Spanish giants in 2013 for 100 million euros from Tottenham Hotspur and quickly teamed up with the already settled duo that had spent four years at the club. In the first round league clash at the Camp Nou, Real Madrid were the Blaugrana’s guests.

The Catalans were 2-1 victors as Karim Benzema started from the bench. CR7 and Bale played with Angel Di Maria upfront and clearly, the two former English Premier League icons missed their ex-Ligue 1 colleague. The French forward came on in the 61st minute for his Welsh teammate but the harm had already been done.

In the return league clash, nothing transformed. Karim Benzema got a brace as Ronaldo scored one. That was still not enough as the Whites were 4-3 losers. The BBC had failed to fire the Spanish giants to league glory but in the Copa del Rey, the script was different.

Talisman CR7 was obliged to miss the much-anticipated Clasico final in the Spanish Cup due to injury worries. However, he grabbed the spotlight by making an appearance in the stands as an agitated spectator. Misfiring Benzema came off in the 90th minute as the battle went into extra-time following Bartra’s equalizer which canceled out Angel di Maria’s early opener. Then came an energized Gareth Bale — the last standing BBC member on the pitch — who honored the trio with his spectacular match winner.

What a run!
What a goal!
BONDING: Ronaldo congratulated MOTM Gareth Bale at the final whistle.

Ronaldo’s effect was gradually developing on the 100 million euros signing.

2014/15: Good start, bad season

With the Welsh winger injured, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Karim Benzema granted Real Madrid a 3-1 win in the first leg of El Clasico. They, however, lost the second fixture 2-1 at the Camp Nou but Ronaldo was on the score sheet. The 12-time European champions finished the season with no trophy.

2015/16: A new era, Benitez-Zidane tenure

New coach Rafael Benitez’s side lost in a disappointing manner to their arch rivals; 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. The former Liverpool boss was sacked after a run of bad results and club legend Zinedine Zidane was appointed. Great success followed as Real Madrid won the return clash at the Camp Nou. Karim Benzema and CR7 were the scorers in a 2-1 win.

2016/17: The first La Liga title for the BBC

Gareth Bale was absent again and CR7 along with his teammates settled for a 1-1 draw in the backyard of Messi and co. In the league’s return clash between the two sides, Los Blancos lost 3-2 to the Catalans and the BBC failed to score — again. The club went on to clinch their 33rd Primera Division title regardless before adding a record 12th UEFA Champions League title to their envious trophy history.

Despite the collective accolades scooped this year, it is hard to overlook the underperformance of the BBC as a trio throughout last season.

In the last Clasico till date, Cristiano’s performance was acceptable as proven below. Benzema was frustrating to watch. Bale was extremely unfit.

Since the formation of the BBC during the 2013/14 season, Barcelona have conceded:

  • 1 goal from Bale (2014 Copa del Rey final)
  • 3 goals from Benzema (all in La Liga)
  • 4 goals from Cristiano (all in La Liga)

April 2, 2016 also marks the last time BBC members destroyed their arch-rivals with Benzema and CR7 each finding the net to erase Pique’s opener and silence the Camp Nou faithful. Since then, the trio has failed to click.

Last season, Gareth Bale scored a goal every 203 minutes; Benzema every 174 minutes; and the current oldest player of the squad, CR7, did better by netting once every 101 minutes amid his annoying goal drought at the start of the campaign. It should not be so.

The question remains the following:

The super clash on Sunday offers Ronaldo’s teammates an opportunity to react positively. CR7 has a staggering 10 goals at the Camp Nou alone; call it his second home! It is up to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale to prove why they are the favored lads, in the midst of other options in the form of Marco Asensio and Isco, to play alongside the current Ballon d’Or holder.

If given a starting XI spot in El Clasico on Sunday, the BBC’s most prolific goalscorer will be expected to use the big clash to announce his readiness for the 2017/18 season.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid comes off at 1:00 PM PDT/4:00 PM EDT in USA and 9:00 PM BST in the UK on Sunday, August 13, 2017.