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Sergio Busquets and the Alaba goal


"They scored with a shot, not with a move. It was an isolated action.” That's how Busquets described Madrid's first goal, by Alaba, in his post-match comments on television. Just a shot, with no intentional interplay in the build-up to it.

Busquets never shirks a question, and he has been doing this for long enough so that we know it. And he spoke calmly. This suggests rather clearly that the reason for his comment was because he truly felt it, something that reflects the way Barça have embraced football in recent years. He only really values the type of football that includes possession, a collective approach, of repeated exchanges of the ball between several players until the opportunity for a killer pass appears. The tiki-taka.

More opinion from Alfredo Relaño:

Busquets was mainly wrong

But Madrid's goal was a great move. Alaba starts it by taking the ball away from Memphis and sending it out wide to Vinicius on the left. The Brazilian beats Mingueza and switches play to the right with an excellent left-footed pass, landing at the feet of his compatriot, Rodrygo, just inside Barça's half. As this happens, Alaba, delightedly caught up in the break due to his wingback tendencies, is also into the opponent's zone, half-heartedly pursued by Memphis, who then gives up on the centre circle. And then, as Benzema stretches the options sprinting out to the right side, dragging Eric Garcia and Pique’s attentions with him, Rodrygo plays in Alaba with a beautiful pass into the left channel which culminates in, now yes, Busquets, a perfect single shot.

Real Madrid's David Alaba celebrates scoring their first goal in El Clásico.
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Real Madrid's David Alaba celebrates scoring their first goal in El Clásico.ALBERT GEAREUTERS

There’s more to good football than tiki-taka

It was quick and clean, created using four players, one simply moving into areas without the ball, as the others contributed accurate and intentional touches. It was not tiki-taka, but is was high-value football. Precise and difficult to execute because of the speed and the amount of space manipulated by those four players. A perfect counter-attack. I very much enjoyed tiki-taka, even in its most exaggerated form, because of its collective management and because it could disengage an opponent from the game. But you cannot believe that it's the only way to play good football. Listening to Busquets it felt as though he was still suffering from nostalgia... but Xavi and Iniesta have been gone for a long time now.


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