Real Madrid ‘obliged’ to keep title race alive in El Clasico

first_img0Shares0000Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale (C) has suffered a series of injury problems but returned to play his part in the Club World Cup success with the semi-final winner over Al Jazira © AFP/File / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUMadrid, Spain, Dec 23 – Real Madrid are “obliged” to beat Barcelona on Saturday (1200GMT) to maintain any hope of retaining La Liga in an El Clasico clash handed extra intrigue by the political cloud overshadowing “the biggest game in world football”.Barca could face an even more hostile atmosphere than normal in the capital in the wake of regional elections in Catalonia. Three parties favouring independence for the prosperous region from Spain retained an absolute majority in the Catalan parliament on Thursday.On the field, Madrid are the more needy side with the European champions trailing the league leaders by a mammoth 11 points at the top of La Liga albeit with a game in hand.“It will be a massive game,” said Real captain Ramos. “It is the biggest game in the world.“We are obliged to win more than ever for the situation we are in to try to keep ourselves in the fight for La Liga.”For the first time an El Clasico will kick-off at lunchtime as La Liga seeks more attention from Asian viewers with a potential audience of 650 million around the world tuning in to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi go head-to-head once more.Barcelona have become ever more reliant on the brilliance of Lionel Messi and the Argentine has responded with 18 goals already this season © AFP/File / JAVIER SORIANOAnd Ronaldo could be paired with Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale for the first time this season.Real’s ‘BBC’ front three haven’t played a single minute of action together, largely due to a series of injury problems for Bale.However, the Welshman returned to play his part in the Club World Cup success with the semi-final winner over Al Jazira.Ronaldo is also “100 percent” fit to play according to coach Zinedine Zidane despite the Portuguese returning to training with the rest of his teammates for the first time this week on Friday.“He is 100 percent, he trained today and that is all that interests me,” said Zidane, who unlike Ramos has tried to play down suggestions Madrid must win to remain in the title race.– ‘Significant advantage’ –Barca boss Ernesto Valverde believes the spectacle on the field will not be affected by the reception the Catalan giants receive.Valverde’s men also visited Madrid in October to face Atletico Madrid without problems amid heightened political tension following violent clashes in a banned independence referendum called by separatists.Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is “100 percent” fit to play in the El Clasico according to coach Zinedine Zidane despite only returning to training with the team for the first time this week © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU“The atmosphere tomorrow will be good, I have no doubt about that,” said Valverde.“We went to play at Atletico Madrid close to October 1 when there was a lot of talk about the reception we would get and I think as a football man it is one of the best atmospheres I have seen. There was a good feeling between the teams, the fans and I expect tomorrow will be the same.”Madrid were the last side to beat Barca and in some style with a 5-1 aggregate thrashing in the Spanish Super Cup back in August.But, since then, the Catalans have bounced back under Valverde’s guidance to go 24 games unbeaten in all competitions.To recover from Neymar’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee, Barca have become ever more reliant on the brilliance of Messi and the Argentine has responded with 18 goals already this season.“It will be important for us to win this game for what it means,” said Messi as he picked up his award for being the top scorer in La Liga last season this week.“A game against Madrid is special, it is at their place and we would take a significant advantage over them if we win.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Mythology reinterpreted

first_img“I am a devotee of Goddess Durga and I believe in the feminine power she incorporates,” said Shobha Deepak Singh, producer and director of the ballet act Shree Durga performed at the ongoing Festival of Ballets at Kamani Auditorium on Tuesday. The dance reflected the necessity of emancipation of women in a time when cruelty against women is surpassing all limits. The divine presence of Goddess Durga took over the stage narrating a story from the past. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The act was set in mythological times when the boon, granted by the gods to their devotees, became nuisances and were misused. The dance emphasised upon the importance of bestowing power to women in proportion to men such that a balance is maintained and no evil rises which can cause destruction. Stree Shakti (feminine power) which rose after constant churning of power of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh led the fight against Mahishasur. The whole episode aimed at restoration of balanced power between the genders. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn the next scene the audiences witnessed the rise of Raktabeej, another asur who harasses the gods and whose every drop of blood gives rise to its clone. Kali  (the goddess of destruction) fought with Raktabeej. She drunk the blood of Raktabeej before it fell on the ground.  The whole scene displayed the sheer madness of someone high with power. It was when Shiva intervened by throwing himself on her feet, Kali’s anger could be controlled. The facial expressions of the actor playing Kali, portrayed the rage and anger of the goddess. The performance was magnificent right from the beginning as it started from the contemporary context where common people indulge in worshipping Durga on Durga Puja, a festival of Bengal.The choreography was an amalgamation of various classical dance forms and martial arts technique called Kalaripayattu which is one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. Altogether, it gave graceful body movements to fighting scenes and facial movements for emotions. Other forms of dance like – Bharatnatyam, Chhau, Kathakali and other folk dances were also amalgamated that left the audiences spellbound. “As this is a ballet, we have incorporated ingredients and elements from various dance forms of our country including folk dances,” said Shashidharan Nair, choreographer. The five-day festival that opened on May 8 with the play titled Meera have two more performances Kaalchakra and Kumar Sambhava that will be staged on May 15 and 16 respectively. Do mark your dates and head over for a ballet treat!last_img read more