Preview: Real Madrid – Barcelona

Featuring arguably the two best teams in the world over the last decade, El Clasico is among the most watched annual sports events.

 

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Usually neck and neck all season (the last three seasons the teams have been separated by just three, one and two points after 38 matches), this fixture has a somewhat unfamiliar premise about it: Real Madrid are currently trailing Barcelona by 11 points (Real have one match in hand), and might have to wave goodbye to their chances of winning the league if they fail to win here.

Too much of a good thing? Support from the home fans can be fantastic, but one can wonder if the pressure sometimes can get to even these world-class players: in the last ten H2H league games, the home side have won on only four of ten meetings. At the Santiago Bernabeu, Barcelona have won the last two league matches, but were beaten here in August, as Real clinched the Super Cup trophy.

Seventy yellow cards (7.0 on average) have been awarded in the last ten H2H games in the league, along with five reds. Being the record holder for career red cards in LL, Sergio Ramos has of course had his fair share of the action: the passionate defender has racked up six yellow and three red cards in the last ten meetings in the league.

Marco Verratti,

Verratti reveals he almost signed for Barcelona

According to the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Marco Verratti, in 2016 he had the chance to sign for the Blaugrana and "considered" the offer.

Not one to downplay the importance of the game, Ramos held nothing back in the press conference before the match: “It’s a really big one, no words can do it justice. It’s a different sort of game. It’s the most important match in world football, and given the points difference ahead of kick-off, we’ve got to win it to keep ourselves in the hunt in LaLiga”.

Messi or Ronaldo, who is better? We don’t have the answer, but in this fixture Messi holds a slight edge with a scoring average of 0.67 from 34 matches against Ronaldo’s average of 0.55 from 31 matches. If we count assists, the trend is even stronger, with Messi being involved in 37 goals in 36 Clasicos (24 goals, 13 assists) against Ronaldo’s 19 in 31 (17 goals, two assists).

 

Missing players

Real Madrid: L. Zidane (shoulder injury)

Barcelona: G. Deulofeu (knee injury), S. Umtiti (muscle injury), O. Dembele (doubtful), Rafinha (doubtful), A. Turan (doubtful).

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