El Clasico, The Preview

By on October 25, 2014

The world is about to be set agog this weekend when Real Madrid and Barcelona go face-to-face in an unusual edition of El Classico. Both teams boast of some of the world’s finest players but the highlight of this match will be on former Liverpool striker, Louis Suarez. The Uruguayan switched from Anfield to Catalonia this summer but due to a ban placed on him by FIFA after he was adjudged guilty of biting Giorgio Cheillini at the recently World Cup in Brazil, Suarez has not featured for Barcelona in a competitive match, although he appeared in a couple of friendlies.

While the current European Champions will be missing Gareth Bale, their opposition will be sweating it out to field a good replacement for midfielder Sergio Busquets. Fortunately, Barcelona will have Suarez to turn to for a boost in their attack even though he might have to start from the bench considering the very prolific partnership between Lionel Messi and Neymar. Both players have created several assists and have scored 19 goals between them this season, but the Santiago Bernabeu giants have in Ronaldo a man-machine, who has scored 20 goals in just 13 matches, a goal better than the combination of Barcelona’s striking duo.

Manager Carlo Ancelloti will probably deploy both Isco and James Rodriguez with the hope that they will make up for the void which Gareth Bale’s absence will leave while the Catalan giants might just decide to field Sergio Samper or hand Javier Mascherno a start in his favourite position in the defensive midfield but this decision will leave them very frail at the defence with Gérard Pique and Thomas Vermaleen battling with an incessant dip in form.

On a brighter note, Lionel Messi can add to his cap another feather today as he is just a goal behind Telmo Zarra’s record of 251 goals in the Spanish La Liga. The Argentine could also achieve a record 21 goals in as little as 28 El Classico games. Also, in just 7 La Liga matches so far this season, Ronaldo who is the current best footballer in the world has scored a total of 15 goals. Furthermore, in about 227 Classico matches to date, Real Madrid have secured victories 91 times and Barca have also come out tops in about 88 times while both have shared the spoils in a total of 48 times.

Hence there will be a lot to play for today, and it is normal to expect brawls on the field. Thankfully Luis Suarez has promised to drop biting from his agenda, hence we can look forward to a ‘bloodless’ encounter.

By Tomilayo Alapinni

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