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Real Madrid in Crisis before Major Game
    2008-12-09 00:08:07     Xinhua

Declarations from Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster have thrown his side deep into crisis just six days before the Camp Nou stadium to play el Classico against FC Barcelona.

The German claimed that his side cannot beat their bitter rivals in a game that could effectively end his Real Madrid's Primera Liga challenge.

Real Madrid's 4-3 home defeat to Sevilla on Sunday night left them nine points behind Barcelona, knowing that a defeat next Saturday would leave them virtually out of the title race before Christmas.

Not only was the defeat painful to bear, but Schuster saw his selection crisis deepened by two suspensions.

With defenders Pepe, Miguel Torres and Gabriel Heinze injured, Schuster had to watch as his only available left back Marcelo picked up his fifth booking of the season to be rule out of the trip to Barcelona.

Real Madrid also have midfielder Mahamadou Diarra injured, while striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. That situation was made even worse when Arjen Robben, by far Real's most dangerous player against Sevilla, was sent off for two yellow cards.

He too will be unavailable against Barcelona and Schuster was thrown into despair.

"I am less worried about the Barcelona match than any other game. The way things are now, it is not possible for us to win there. Barca are playing very well and they are sweeping everything before them," said the Real Madrid coach in his post-game press conference.

Barcelona moved nine points clear of Real Madrid thanks to a 4-0 home win over third-placed Valencia on Saturday night. With Real Madrid lacking players in defense and without a first choice left back, Leo Messi will be a huge threat, while the pace of Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry threatens both Michel Salgado and Fabio Cannavaro.

On paper, Barcelona are favorites, not only to beat Real Madrid, but to beat them easily. Unless Schuster is playing mind games, his attitude is only going to lower Real Madrids morale and make a difficult task almost impossible.



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