Six points off the title pace a win at home is crucial for the Catalans…
Tagged as the biggest game in club football; the first clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid this season takes place later today. The outcome of this El Clasico will have a big impact on the race to win La Liga this season, with both teams boasting a star-studded line-up featuring some of the best players in the world.
Real are now six points ahead of Barca, so a win at home is vital for the Catalans.
Matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid are always significant and important for football fans across the globe, but today’s game at Camp Nou feels particularly pertinent, even in the annuls of iconic contests we have witnessed between these two.
However, before this much-awaited game, both the teams have some major concerns of absentees from their respective pool of greats.
Barcelona’s major miss is likely to be Jordi Alba. The team will be mostly relying on Lionel Messi to pull them out of the mire but this is also a chance for another Clasico hero to emerge. However, to the delight of the team management, their captain Andres Iniesta is back in the squad for the El Classico.
On the other hand, if Los Blancos are to repeat their dominance till now, it will be without some key men. With no Gareth Bale. Zinadine Zidane will need to call on all of his tactical acumen to create a winning mantra. Apart from these two, there are big doubts over the fitness of Pepe, Raphael Varane, Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
Head to Head
In recent meetings between both the sides it has been rare for Madrid to be in such a strong position since their last La Liga triumph.
Victory for Luis Enrique’s team would be number 50 in the league against arch-rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou. In 86 matches, Barca have recorded 49 wins, drawn 17 and lost on 20 occasions. Last season Real Madrid left with a 2-1 victory, only their second at Camp Nou in the last eight seasons. Barca have only lost 3 of their last 13 Clasicos at Camp Nou in all competitions.
Man to Watch
Lionel Messi-FC Barcelona: Lionel Messi has been the hub of all of Barcelona’s delightful attacking work over the last decade. Messi’s burst of speed, stunning dribbling ability and propensity for staying calm and cool is the strongest point about him. Messi is the man most likely to take hold of a game and swing it Barcelona’s way in times of adversity at the moment. He will once again be the main man for the Blaugrana in this crucial clash
Cristiano Ronaldo-Real Madrid: Players who can take control of a game and wrestle it the way of their team at the highest level are rare in the modern game. But it’s exactly what Cristiano Ronaldo aka CR7 is doing for Real Madrid at this time. On line-ups, CR7 will usually be the man on the left wing, but his most striking work has come inside the box rather than on the left flank. He is the man typically infield, looking to get on the end of crosses in style to finish the opportunities for his team.
FC Barcelona :
Real Marid :
The match will be telecast live on India @ Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony LIV, Sony ESPN from 8.45 pm IST.
Photo Courtesy: Sky Sports
Report by Himangshu Rajkhowa- Khel Now Correspondent from Guwahati.