The footballing world will experience the first El Clasico of the 2016-17 season when La Liga leaders Real Madrid travel to the Nou Camp to face second-placed Barcelona on Saturday. This will be the 232nd Clasico in the history of the fixture that dates all the way back to 1929.
Barcelona will be looking to grab three vital points in front of their home fans as they look to reduce the six-point gap between them and their arch rivals Real Madrid. No two football matches are the same - this was evident in the scorelines of the two matches in which the sides met last year. Barcelona crushed Madrid 4-0 in the first encounter but slipped to a 2-1 loss later in the season to a Zidane-led Madrid side. Both sides tasted a Clasico defeat in their own backyard. Barcelona
Real Madrid’s 6-1 win over Cultural Leonosa Copa Del Rey at the Bernabeu on Wednesday means that Zinedine Zidane has led the club to their longest unbeaten run (32 games) leapfrogging past the 31-games unbeaten spree achieved in Carlo Ancelotti’s reign in the 2013-14 season. The Madridistas will be hoping that this run is not cut short anytime soon. The club
The return of skipper Andres Iniesta will buoy the Catalan giants as they have dearly missed their midfield marshal in recent games and his presence can surely spur them on to a more fluid and incisive performance. The veteran scored a thunderbolt in the first El Clasico of last season. Jordi Alba and Jeremy Mathieu remain doubtful as they’re plagued with knee and calf injuries respectively.
For Madrid, Kroos will miss out due to a broken metatarsal and young Spaniard Alvaro Morata will also be sidelined due to a knock received during the international break. The visitors will also not have the services of Welsh forward Gareth Bale as he is recovering from an ankle injury. Casemiro’s return in midfield will offer some cheer as he could prove to be vital in nullifying Barcelona’s attacks. He turned out to be Messi’s nemesis the last time the two teams clashed.
Luis Enrique and Zidane have gone hammer and tongs at each other, right since their playing days. They’ve only squared off against each other once as managers yet and Zidane currently has the bragging rights over the Barcelona manager as he guided his side to a 2-1 comeback victory at the Camp Nou in April.
The world awaits another potential classic football match. Barcelona
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