Barcelona have the edge on Real Madrid because their fabled ‘MSN’ forward line represents the equivalent of three Cristiano Ronaldos, according to former Los Blancos star Paul Breitner.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar inspired Barca to a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble last season with an astonishing collective haul of 122 goals.
The breathtakingly brilliant trio have already scored 107 times between them in 2015-16, to keep Barca on course to sweep the board once again.
Despite Ronaldo’s best efforts – the prolific Portuguese having scored 41 goals in just 38 appearances in all competitions this term – Barca head into Saturday’s Clasico clash with Madrid 10 points clear of their arch-rivals in the Liga standings.
Ronaldo hit the headlines recently by suggesting that Madrid would be top of the table if his team-mates were as good as him, and that is a sentiment World Cup winner Breitner – who played for the Santiago Bernabeu club between 1974 and 1977 – agrees with.
Breitner told Omnisport: “If every player had the same level as him, Real Madrid would be 30 points ahead in the Spanish championship!
“That’s inconceivable! You can’t have 11 Messis, 11 Ronaldos on the pitch. All on their level? No!”
The ex-West Germany international continued: “Real Madrid is busy benchmarking itself against Barcelona. But it seems like they don’t have a squad which can compete with Barcelona’s squad.
“Maybe their game is too focused on Cristiano Ronaldo, that the players internalise that they have to give the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo because he is the guaranteed goal-scorer. This can paralyse you, impede you.
“You have the ball in defence and no matter what, no matter how sooner or later, you have to try and involve Cristiano Ronaldo.
“This can make things easy for the rival, or easier. Against Barcelona it’s different – they have three Ronaldos.
“And I don’t want to get on the wrong side of anyone at Real Madrid, but maybe that’s the reason why the pace goes up and down again and again.”
The reverse Clasico at the Bernabeu in November ended in ignominy for Madrid, as Barca ran out 4-0 winners.
And, ahead of this weekend’s meeting at Camp Nou, Breitner believes that result was an accurate portrayal of the current difference in quality between two teams that will always rely on each other for motivation.
“If I lose and then say ‘oh that was unlucky’, I am lying to myself,” the former Bayern Munich man added.
“I have to check if I made mistakes and which mistakes I made, just for the record. Since my time, the significance of the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona hasn’t changed at all – you have to be ahead of the other one.
“If you end up eighth and the other ninth it was a successful season. That means if Real Madrid ends this season eighth in the standings and Barcelona finish ninth – that’s good by all means! And the same vice-versa.
“It’s so much the worse if the distance is as big as it is right now and you know you yourself can’t influence things anymore. It’s not in your hands anymore to turn this situation around.
“And it doesn’t matter at all if maybe Atletico Madrid wins the championship in the end because neither Real Madrid nor Barcelona depend on Atletico. Like I said, they just depend on each other.”