New Delhi: The moment for which every La Liga fan or arguably every football fan in the world enthusiastically waits for is finally here. 11 times European Champions Real Madrid will take on their historic rivals Barcelona at the 99,000-capacity stadium Camp Nou on Saturday.
13 games of the Spain’s La Liga have been played and the heavyweights of the world football will clash in what is famously known as El Clasico. Real Madrid leads the La Liga table with Barcelona trailing them by 9 points.
Real Madrid is in ruthless form this season; containing the opposition attacks and thwarting their defences at will. To corroborate Real’s tremendous feat, they haven’t lost a game since their Champions League (CL) defeat to Wolfsburg in April and are on an unbeaten run of 32 games.
The Madrid-based football giants will travel to Barcelona without Gareth Bale, who picked up an ankle injury in CL game against Sporting CP last week. Lucas Vazquez is in contention to replace the Welsh winger. Also, Toni Kroos, Danilo and Fabio Coentrao are set to miss the crucial fixture with injuries.
Midfielder Casemiro’s return from a long term injury will be a big relief to coach Zinedine Zidane.
There are no suspended players in the Madrid squad.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is not in their best shape as they have struggled with consistency this season. They drew Copa del Rey game 1-1 against lower league team Hercules recently, while their three stalemates at home in last six La Liga games doesn’t really offer much promise for the upcoming El Clasico.
Fullbacks Jordi Alba and Fabio Coentrao can start the game while Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are also in contention to play as well. Messi, Suarez and Neymar; MSN, the famous trident of Barcelona will start the game.
Barcelona’s midfield maestro Andres Iniesta is all set to make a comeback after being sidelined for two months due to injury. He might not be rushed back straight into the first team but can start the game on the bench. Andre Gomes is the potential candidate to start in his place along with the ever present Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic.
Senior squad member Jeremy Mathieu is out injured and there are no suspensions in the Luis Enrique’s side.
If Real Madrid wins the game, they will stretch their lead on Barcelona to 9 points, adding further misery to Barcelona’s horrendous La Liga campaign.
Real Madrid’s main spearhead is in terrific form having scored a hat-trick and a brace in last 3 games, while Barcelona’s talisman Lionel Messi has failed to find the net in the last 5 El Clasico games.