The El Clasico, the clash between the biggest and richest name in world football will take centre stage on Saturday afternoon.
Real Madrid are on an unbeaten 32 game run this season. They are yet to lose a match in all competitions but they will be wary that when it comes to the Clasico form is thrown out the window. Ronaldo is back in good goal scoring form after bagging a hat trick against city rivals Atletico Madrid a fortnight ago. That was his 39th hat trick for Real Madrid and he shows no signs of slowing down. He bagged the winner the last time the two teams met back in April to close the gap on then leaders Barcelona. That victory wasn’t enough though to help then clinch the title in the end with the Catalans winning with a point gap on the final day.
Gareth Bale will be out of this clash after an ankle injury ruled him out. He has been influential so far and his presence will be sorely missed. Toni Kroos and Alvaro Morata are also out. Benzema and James Rodriguez will have a chance to prove themselves to their coach following their bit part roles in the season thus far. The former has had injury woes but is fit now to start or play some part in the Clasico.
Barcelona however are not having a great campaign right now. Last week they were lucky to leave Sociedad with a point after a game in which they were a shadow of themselves. They were outfought, out thought and outplayed by a team they have not had a good record against in recent times. Injuries to first team players has also not helped their cause. Pique was out for some time but returned last week. Jordi Alba too is a doubt for the match after he went off injured in the 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad. Barcelona welcome back Andres Iniesta after his spell out with an injury. He is likely to play a big part in this clash with his experience.
For the Catalans, Messi has also been in good goal scoring form. He already has 9 champion’s league goals and 10 in La Liga. The Argentine has also stricken a good partnership alongside Neymar and Suarez who will be integral to Barca’s chances in this game.
The Clasico over the years has been a title decider though this campaign is still in its infancy to be dubbed as such though Madrid have a chance to open the gap between them and Barcelona to 9 points which would be a real hurdle for even Barcelona to overcome. However, both teams will know the enormity of the task at hand in trying to get one on their rivals. Madrid are the favourites based on recent form, but when it comes to clashes like these, the best team on the day comes out on top. This clash is never short of drama, action and fun and we don’t this particular one to be any different.
Kickoff is on Saturday at 15:15 GMT.