The first El Clasico of 2013 between rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will be played today in Madrid with a local kick-off time 9:00PM (3:00 PM NY Time). This vital Spanish Cup match will be viewed by millions of soccer fans world-wide. Sports broadcasters are welcoming this extraordinary clash, sure to capture the imagination of the sports world.
Ten of FIFA's 11 best footballers play for these clubs, including player of the year Lionel Messi and runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo. Both are in stunning form leading up to El Clasico with over 50 La Liga goals scored between them already, seven alone in just the last 90 minutes.
The Copa del Rey has become an even more important tournament this year, since it will likely be the only domestic silverware Madrid can win. Many believed that Barcelona could not continue their successful form after the departure of Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, but surprisingly new coach Tito Vilanova has taken the Blaugrana to new heights.
In La Liga, Barcelona established an incomprehensible 18-point lead over Real Madrid after 19 rounds. The incredible form of the reigning Copa del Rey champions saw them go unbeaten for the first half of the season with a record tally of 55 points from 18 wins and 1 draw (in a 2-2 fixture against Real Madrid back in October 2012).
Their first Spanish La Liga loss of the season came at the feet of Real Sociedad in a match which ended 3-2, just a few weeks ago. This allowed Los Blancos to reduce the wide margin to 15 points. It was Barca's first loss since losing to their bitter rivals in the Spanish Super Cup back in August 2012. This first loss of the 2012-13 season brought Barcelona back to earth, perhaps just for enough time to re-fuel before their next extended winning voyage. Jose Mourinho will likely have something to say about that.
Wednesday's Clasico will be broadcast live across the globe, attracting a divided audience of ardent Messi (Barcelona) or Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) supporters. The game should be a high octane event, with Real Madrid definitely needing a positive result in this leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos, who are missing an almost full line of defensive starters (Pepe, Casillas, Ramos and Coentrão) due to injury or suspension, will require Jose Mourinho to adapt some tactical brilliance into an effective game strategy. His job as Real Madrid coach might depend on the outcome of El Clasico. The local media and club supporters will surely crucify the 'Special One' if their team does not supply a top performance that accompanies a good result. It would be impossible to imagine a more pressurized situation for Mourinho.
To tune into this El Clasico match see the listings below:
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona - Copa Del Rey TV schedule.
(GMT) Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 20:00.
For a complete and comprehensive TV Schedule listing for the Copa del Rey El Clasico - visit the match page. The other semi-final between Atletico Madrid and Sevilla will kick-off on Thursday at 4:00PM EST.
Listings and analysis compiled by LiveSoccerTV Staff.