It’s always a big occasion when these two clubs lock horns, especially when it’s a cup final. Historically this fixture has arguably provided football fans with more exhilaration than any other match in Spain and the game between the two sides always lives up to the expectations.
Real Madrid and Barcelona have already met twice this season and on both occasions the match has ended in favour of the Catalans. However things might turn out to be different this time around with Barcelona on a disappointing run which has seen them loose both of their last two matches.
Unlike ahead of the first Clasico of the year 2014, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not in top form. Leo has gone missing lately while CR7 is out injured. So which players will leave a mark on the game?
Two stars under pressure to perform are Neymar and Gareth Bale. Both completely rocked the 2013 summer transfer window and are expected to justify their astronomical price tags. Indeed, the stage has been set for Neymar and Bale to strengthen their rivalry and overshadow, at least for a day, the mouth-watering Messi-Ronaldo clash which cannot take place in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.
Preview: Weak Real Madrid looking for robust win
Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to play one half of this game but it appears he will not spend a single minute on the field. Already, physios are trying to get him ready to face Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final next Wednesday.
Reports suggest Ronaldo may need a bandage under his knee to control the pain. Ancelotti has not ruled his biggest asset out of El Clasico yet, but it is certain that CR7 will not kick a ball this weekend.
“I had the same injury and I had to strengthen my knee with a lot of gym work with massages to reduce the inflammation,” Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos explained.
Preview: Dortmund need a miracle, Los Blancos want an early goal
Even with the expected absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Dortmund’s pitch after only 15 minutes of training on Tuesday morning, Real Madrid are virtually free from pressure. Thanks to the big win at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg, Los Blancos are confident about sealing their 2013/14 UEFA Champions League semi-final spot on German soil.
This time, a repeat of the 4-1 victory they clinched over Real Madrid last season will not be enough for Borussia Dortmund to go through. The away goals rule would see them crash out from Europe on aggregate. Still, Dortmund are not giving up as football is full of surprises.
Preview: A must-win game without CR7
Cristiano Ronaldo will be rested. As reported on Thursday, the Portugal captain has a slight patellar tendon problem. Although victory is a must at the Anoeta this weekend, Carlo Ancelotti prefers to avoid taking risks with CR7’s health.
The Italian manager will have to count on hungry youngster Morata who netted an amazing curling goal against Rayo Vallecano last Saturday. Gareth Bale, whose synchronization with Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have broken a bit since the Clasico defeat, will be able to exhibit his freedom in the left wing and cut inside to shoot.
Preview: Los Blancos obliged to fight boos
Real Madrid were one goal away from creating a sensational comeback against Borussia Dortmund last season. After emphatically falling 4-1 in Germany due to the exploits of four-goal hero Robert Lewandowski, “La Remontada” (The Comeback) became the most popular term in Madrid-based paper Marca.
Los Blancos were asked to find motivation from historical records while Jose Mourinho was sweating over the fitness of star man Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese, who netted a goal in the first leg, failed to get on the scoring sheet at the Bernabeu. Late goals by Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos were not enough as the Spanish giants suffered a heart-breaking exit from Europe.
Ronaldo penalty vs Barca brings up Messi penalty vs Man City debate
Fans from both the sides were furious at some of the decisions the referee made during the course of the match and one of these decisions which still continues to divide opinions was Undiano Mallenco awarding Real Madrid a penalty for a foul Dani Alves had seemingly committed outside the box.
Ronaldo scored from the resulting penalty and the Blaugrana faithful were left fuming.
Enjoy the broadcast of Real Madrid vs Barcelona in live streaming on your mobile, computer, or TV with beIN Sports. LiveSoccerTV has an exclusive list of compiled live listings from Canada, UK, USA and the world.
Over 140 zones have been covered so whether you are located in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or elsewhere, you may be able to find where to stream the game live this Sunday. Simply visit El Clasico’s match page for full details.
The previous meeting ended 2-1 in favour of Barca. Messi and Ronaldo’s presence was overshadowed by Neymar’s dream debut in El Clasico and Alexis Sanchez’s wonderful long-range strike.
Preview: Will Los Blancos lose ground in Malaga ahead of El Clasico?
This is Real Madrid’s last hurdle before the long awaited clash at home to Barcelona on March 23 and coach Carlo Ancelotti is fully aware of the importance of winning. He stated:
“We have to keep going, we cannot relax. We have a ‘cup final’ on Saturday. Facing Barça with a four-point lead isn't the same as facing them with just a one or two-point lead.”
Marca quoted goalkeeper Diego Lopez saying as much:
“It would be three important points in the 'Clásico'. We are playing against a direct rival and we can increase the gap on them, but we have an important game before that against Malaga, we hope to play Barça with a four-point gap still and then we can increase it to seven.”
Preview: BBC fired up to maintain Real Madrid’s lead in La Liga
The BBC was on fire in midweek. Gareth Bale scored a goal and gave two assists in Wales’ 3-1 win over Iceland. Karim Benzema was on target in France’s morale-boosting 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. Elsewhere, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo netted a brace in a 5-1 rout of Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon. CR7 broke free of retired footballer Pauleta to become his nation’s all-time topscorer with 49 goals.
It’s all looking good for Real Madrid’s stellar forward line. In La Liga, Bale (10) tops Los Blancos’ assists chart whereas Benzema (15) and Ronaldo (23) have more goals between them than Barcelona’s top two highest goalscorers in the league, Sanchez (16) and Messi (15).
Preview: New faces will have to give it their all on Wednesday night
Portugal will welcome two new faces to the squad on Wednesday, with both looking to make a positive first impression. Sporting de Braga’s Rafa and Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro were called up for the first time, and they will want to give Paulo Bento a selection headache when it comes to making his final picks for the upcoming World Cup.
Rafa has performed well at the club level this season, despite having only scored three goals in 19 appearances. As for Ivan Cavaleiro, he enjoyed great success with Benfica B, but since breaking into the Lisbon side’s first team, his playing time has been inconsistent.
Preview: An uphill task for Spanish Cup champions Atletico
Almost there. Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane are about to experience their first ever Copa del Rey final as managers at Real Madrid. However, as much as upsets happen in football, the Spanish giants remain cautious ahead of Tuesday night’s encounter on the turf of their city rivals.
Atletico Madrid surprisingly conceded three goals without reply at the Santiago Bernabeu last week. This 3-0 first leg defeat requires Diego Simeone to be very smart this time round. What is worse for the Copa del Rey defending champions is that they will be without Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born striker picked up a booking and must now serve suspension.
Preview: Revenge mission – Ronaldo's Real to fail or succeed?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is making a lot of rounds in the media today – not only because he is celebrating his 29th birthday, but because the verdict following his dissmissal against Athletic Bilbao on Matchday 22 of La Liga has fallen. CR7 has been slapped with a three-match ban but it only applies in the league.
Coincidentally, Ronaldo’s penultimate sending off happened at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid; that was in the Copa del Rey final, last season. This Wednesday, the visitors and their traveling fans might do all they can to provoke Ronaldo in their favour. While the Ballon d’Or winner’s temper is set to be tested once more, his desire to make up for his moment of madness at San Mames could work out in Real Madrid’s favour.
Ahead of the decision by the Spanish FA, FC Barcelona's Gerard Pique gave his take on the situation, saying:
"Even on TV it looked dubious. I know Cristiano; he raised his hand, but it wasn't a big deal, it wasn't violent conduct."
Real Madrid sporting director Miguel Pardeza added more, during an interview with Canal Plus. He declared:
"It seemed simply unfair to me, if anyone deserved a red card, it was the one who started it off. Cristiano should have stayed on the pitch.
"It seems to me that Gurpegi is the first to put his hands on Cristiano's chest, and then tries to trick the referee as he exaggerates. We must have another look at the incident, calmly, and our legal department will decide whether to appeal or not."
Ronaldo, Messi or Ribery?
Millions of football fans worldwide, as well as a host of football personalities, had circled the 13 January 2014 date on their calendar. On the net, forums have cracked with fierce debates between fans. Now those debates will predictably continue – perhaps with even more pressure – after the ceremony.
However, moments before the name of the winner is announced on Monday night, silence and anxiety will surely prevail. Will Lionel Messi’s four-year rule come to an end? Will the football world reward silverware influence above individual performance by giving the prize to Ribery? Or will La Pulga add more lines to history with a fifth Ballon d’Or and leave Ronaldo waiting for his time to come again?
La Liga may host what undisputedly are two of the world’s best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but one common remark one may hear about the Spanish league is its predictability.
It offers as good a chance of predicting who’ll win the title come May as easily as one can figure whether a Republican or Democrat will win the next United States presidential election.
“You have a 50-50 chance of picking La Liga’s winner”, is a common jest made on many football forums and inside pubs all around the world.
Indeed, such is Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance over the past few decades that it really has become a two-horse race, where the Blaugrana and Los Blancos are way ahead of everyone else, who’s left to fight for the scraps for third place and beyond.
Preview: Final hurdle of the year for title hunters Real
Cristiano Ronaldo served his second and final match ban in the Copa del Rey in midweek. The Portuguese winger, who opened the scoring with a header in the 2012/13 Spanish Cup final, was latter dismissed in the match. He was therefore suspended for two games and had to miss both legs against Olimpica de Xativa.
In his absence, Real Madrid were able to reach the Last 16 of the 2013/14 Copa del Rey. The team’s focus is now on improving in La Liga where they suffered a slip last weekend due to a 2-2 draw away to Osasuna. Los Blancos were forced to end Matchday 16 five points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Ninth-placed Valencia will be keen to further embarrass Carlo Ancelotti and his players.
Preview: Ronaldo returns, København eye Europa League football
For the first time since inspiring Real Madrid to a 5-0 defeat away to Almeria in November, Cristiano Ronaldo will step on the pitch again. The Portuguese talisman had to be subbed off in that match due to a thigh injury. He has since been rested to recapture his fitness.
In the UEFA Champions League, Ronaldo has scored eight times. He shares this record of ‘most group stages goals’ with icons Hernan Crespo, Filippo Inzaghi and Ruud van Nistelrooy. He was joined by PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Matchday 5.
Preview: Another chance for Real to improve without Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo will not play, Ancelotti has confirmed. According to the Real Madrid manager, the Portuguese talisman has recovered from last weekend’s thigh injury against Almeria but remains uncomfortable. As a result, Angel Di Maria will be given a rare start in the starting XI. The Argentine winger is reportedly feeling ousted by impressive summer signing Gareth Bale.
In Ronaldo’s absence, Los Blancos will aim to build on the great performance they put in against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Team effort, marked by the brilliance of Isco, Bale and Arbeloa, proved that Real Madrid have strength in depth and can cope without their number 7 superstar.
Lately, a certain Portuguese attacker's name comes to everyone's lips—with his rampant displays for club and country. Cristiano Ronaldo, that is. His perfectly executed hat-trick against the Blågult in Sweden on November 19, which followed his match winner in the first leg of this World Cup Qualifying Playoff tie, has got people touting Cristiano Ronaldo again for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or to be awarded in January.
But what about Lionel Messi, the reigning holder of this prize? Last season wasn’t his best by his lofty standards, with some as far as calling it a disappointment. Indeed, his individual achievements in 2011-2012 were outrageous and therefore hard to equal for any player, including Messi himself.