Former Barcelona defender Miguel Angel Nadal believes the club’s adherence to their footballing principles is central to their success in the modern era.
Barca take on Real Madrid in Saturday’s Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu with the chance to open up a six-point gap over their bitter rivals at La Liga’s summit.
A successful title defence this season would amount to Barca’s sixth championship in eight years and Nadal feels the dominance of the current generation has its roots in the style of the all-conquering ‘Dream Team’ of the early 1990s, where the Spain international was an imposing presence at centre-back.
“There’s been an evolution both physically and medically in the game,” he told Omnisport.
“But they keep the same philosophy, the idea that you win when you attack well. That’s their concept of football.
“There’s more pressure, but there’s also more tactics. It’s all about scoring by keeping the ball and playing attacking football.”
Partizan battle lines are drawn between the two cities involved on Clasico weekend, but the match also lures in loyal support from across Spain, with families often divided in their allegiances.
This was certainly the experience during his youth for Mallorca native Nadal, whose nephew – tennis superstar Rafael Nadal – is a keen Madrid fan despite his uncle’s exploits.
“Well it’s true some members of my family were Real fans, but also true that others were Barcelona fans,” he explained. “When I started to play football more seriously, well I don’t know why, but I wanted to play at Barcelona.
“I was close to them. As youngsters sometimes we would get invited to see Barca play – I knew the stadium and wanted to play in there one day.
“I was happy, happy to play at Barcelona and if I went back in time I would do the same again.”