The world will stop for 90 minutes when two of the greatest football clubs in the world lock horns against each other. The match which is famously known as El Clasico will take place at Camp Nou on Saturday. El Clasico always has a special place in the hearts of every football lover, as it’s arguably the biggest match in club football. This match is not only about the 3 points, it’s about pride, about bragging rights, an embodiment of the rivalry between Catalonians and the Madrileños.
Not Just a Match
Real Madrid & Barcelona’s rivalry dates back to 1902, ever since one of their first meetings at a tournament held in the honour of King Alfonso. The rivalry grew during the Franco era when Real Madrid was seen as the symbol of nationalism & Barcelona was the expression of the Catalan pride. Things haven’t changed much since, players still feel that special buzz when they play against their biggest rivals. A Rivalry which extends beyond the pitch, the rivalry of Castile and Catalonia.
The transfer of Alfredo di Stéfano took the rivalry a notch higher, as he signed for Madrid under controversial circumstances. Di Stéfano was already a superstar at River Plate, and both clubs were keen on signing him. After years of success with River Plate, Stéfano was looking for a new challenge, so he signed for the Colombian side, Los Millionarios. Barcelona struck a deal with River Plate, whom FIFA recognised as di Stéfano’s employer. Madrid on the other hand, negotiated with Millionarios, but paying River Plate the sum of what was paid to them.As a result, “The Blonde Arrow” was dressed in all white. Thus began an era of Madrid dominance. Stéfano helped Real to Eight La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, the first five consecutive European Cups and an Intercontinental Cup from 1953 through 1964.And with 18 goals in Clasicos, Di Stéfano still holds the record for most goals against the Catalan outfit.
Team News & Predicted Lineup
The match to be played on Saturday holds special importance for both Madrid & Barca as a win for Madrid will steer them 9 points clear of their arch rivals & as for Barca, it’s about being in the title race. Real Madrid are coming into this match with an unbeaten run of 31 games, and they will look to increase their tally by beating their arch rivals on their own soil. Barcelona, on the other hand, looked out of sorts at Anoeta against a brilliant Real Sociedad & were lucky to clinch 1 point. Maybe a bad day at the office for the majestic trio of Messi, Suarez & Neymar. The return of Iniesta will definitely add more finesse to a midfield which lacked flair & solidity recently as Busquets & Rakitic are performing below their usual standards. Madrid will have to do without their 3 key players,Gareth Bale(ankle), Toni Kroos(metatarsal) & Alvaro Morata(hamstring). But the return of Casemiro bodes well for Zinedine Zidane, as the Brazilian played a crucial role last term when these two teams met. The spotlight, as always, will be on Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi as it intensifies the Ballon D’Or race even more.
Ter Stegen – Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta(c) – Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Total games: 231
Barcelona wins: 90
Real Madrid wins: 93
Barcelona looked clueless against a gritty Sociedad side, outplayed in every department, it was a controversial decision from the referee that handed them 1 crucial point. But things can change pretty quickly when you have the best attacking
force in the world. With Iniesta returning from injury, Busquets will be more relaxed & comfortable on the ball. Rakitic will have more chances as the world cup winner dictates play in the middle.