Barcelona v Real Madrid – live "The Biggest Men's Pay-Per-View of all Time

Barcelona v Real Madrid – live "The Biggest Men's Pay-Per-View of all Time

Copa del Rey semi-final updates from another clásico
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Date/Time: 26 February 2013 20:00 (GMT)

Competition: Spain Copa del Rey

Venue: Camp Nou (Barcelona).

Real Madrid and José Mourinho have eight days. Eight days to define a season and, quite possibly, a legacy; eight days around which to define an exit strategy too. When it comes to knockout tournaments, promise and threat are always two sides to the same coin but for Madrid, and for their manager, that sensation is deepened. On Tuesday night they face Barcelona away in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Camp Nou, having drawn 1-1 in the first; on Saturday they play Barcelona again in La Liga at home and next Tuesday they travel to Manchester United in the Champions League, again having drawn 1-1 at home in the first leg.

Barcelona, Barcelona, United. It is some journey, destination unknown. 6 March is Real Madrid's birthday. By then, their season could have ended. Trailing Barcelona by 16 points in a league championship that Mourinho has already declared "impossible", they must get positive results at Camp Nou and Old Trafford in order to avoid elimination in the two remaining competitions, the "only" things they have left.

Or, to put it another way, they could still be on course for a Copa del Rey final, having knocked out their bitterest rivals on route, and continuing their path towards a historic 10th European Cup – and the European Cup eclipses all else, always. Madrid's task may not prove as huge as is presupposed either: two draws may be sufficient. Two 2-2s and they will go through.

That is far from impossible: Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in his past five visits to Camp Nou and three of Madrid's last four results there would put them through: 2-2, 3-2, 1-2, 2-2.

That underlines the fact that something similar can be said of Barcelona, only with less drama: the impact of an exit in the Copa or in Europe, where they have to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Milan, would be enormous but the league will be theirs and they face their challenges over 15 days, not eight. For Barça, "failure" in this fortnight would be relative but it would still be real.

The managerial factor differentiates the teams too: for Mourinho this may be about more than just this season but his time in Spain. He is a collector and he has collected one of the things he came for – a Spanish league title to go with championships in Portugal, England and Italy – and he did what Madrid most needed him to do, knock Barcelona off their perch. He has not collected the other trophy he seeks – a third European Cup with a third team – but while he would have seen Madrid as a grand opportunity to do so, there will be other chances. "I will not retire without it," he said before the first leg versus United. "But I do not know if that will be here."

Yet Mourinho also knows that how he is remembered at Madrid probably depends on this week. These have been difficult years for him in Spain and he clearly has not enjoyed his time as he did in England; he flirts with the Premier League at virtually every opportunity. Asked what he so liked about England a fortnight ago, he said: "Everything".

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