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Five questions raised from last nights El Clasico

Barcelona drew with Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final on Wednesday night after Raphael Varane cancelled out a goal from Cesc Fabregas at the Bernabeu. What were the main talking points, especially an awkward line of questioning for Chelsea?

Here are five major talking points from the game…

How good is Raphael Varane?

The man-of-the-match from the fixture had to be Real Madrid’s exceptional young centre-back Varane. Not only did he cap his magnificent performance with a thumping header to bring the scores level at The Bernabeu but he was composed and strong in defence looking every inch the finished article and the scary thing is; he is just 19-years-old.

The future for this France-under-21 international is full of promise and his glorious last-man challenge on Cesc Fabregas with the score at 1-0 Barca was reminiscent of Laurent Blanc in his pomp.

Real Madrid should consider making him a regular starter even at his tender age.

How badass is Carles Puyol?

The 34-year-old has now been at the club for 18 years and you can see that commitment in every single move he makes on a football pitch. He flew into every challenge and won nearly every header and even went charging out of defence at any given opportunity.

But the moment that really summed him up was when a lighter was thrown onto the pitch. While the more metrosexual of the defensive pairing Gerard Pique tried to highlight the issue to the Spanish referee Puyol gave him a verbal slap round the head threw the object off the pitch and told his young pretender in no uncertain terms to get on with the game.

Great viewing.

How did he miss?

Seriously? How? How on earth? Did Cristiano Ronaldo miss his close range header?

Just a yard out from an empty net the ball bounced up kindly to the stooping head of the Portuguese forward who simply had to tuck it away.

But he put it wide to completely stun the home crowd. No wonder he punched the air so passionately when Varane saved his blushes later on.

Is Dani Alves the most annoying footballer?

Undoubtedly the Brazilian is one of the best right-backs in the world but he is also possibly the most annoying player in the world.

With all those tattoos and his belligerent, swashbuckling attitude toward the game you would expect him to be something of a hard-nut. However there must have been a BB gun sniper in the Bernabeu who kept popping off painful shots at Alves as he continually writhed around the turf in agony from phantom contact.

I would not have been surprised if he had gone down holding his eye from one of those green laser pens that are all the rage in Spanish football.

Why on earth did Chelsea let Essien go?

Chelsea allowed Michael Essien to leave on loan on Transfer Deadline Day this summer and that may very well be their worst piece of transfer business. He was superb for Real filling in as an auxiliary right-back and his experience, versatility and quality would have been a valuable asset during their current difficulties.

image: © katabasis

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