Real Madrid and Barcelona are gearing up for the always-exciting El Clasico, with the two bitter Spanish rivals set to lock horns at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano on Saturday. All eyes will be on this weekend battle as it could go a long way in deciding the title race, with the Blaugrana (65 pts) and Los Blancos (63 pts) aiming to usurp Atletico Madrid (66 pts) at the top.
As a result, fans eagerly awaited the announced of the squad lists. Those arrived on Saturday – or the early hours of Sunday, depending on your time zone – and it offered interesting insight as to what each manager has to work with.
Due to an injury crisis, Zidane was only able to name 19 players on his list, with several key players missing out on this game. Sergio Ramos is an obvious absentee, and he is joined on the sidelines by Raphael Varane after the Frenchman contracted COVID-19, leaving the Madrid giants without their two preferred center-backs.
Los Merengues made do without their center-back pairing in their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash with Liverpool, but it should be noted that Salah and Co. were poor on that occasion and offered little threat. Messi and Co. will be a different prospect given the form of the Argentine icon and French team-mate Ousmane Dembele.
Eden Hazard also misses out on this tie, which is a huge but expected blow. The Belgian has endured nothing but injuries since arriving in the Spanish capital and while the former Chelsea talent has returned to training, the home side opted against rushing him back.
Barcelona, on the other hand, offered their fans a huge boost as club icon Gerard Pique was named in the squad. The long-serving Spanish center-back has been on the sidelines since picking up a knee injury in the Copa del Rey comeback victory over Sevilla in early March but has returned to training over the past few days.
Regardless, the 34-year-old is not fully fit and thus the decision to play him or not will be made in the hours leading up to kick-off. Sergi Roberto has also made the cut but given the rise of Sergino Dest, the academy graduate will likely remain on the bench.
Here are the Clasico squads in full:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Diego Altube
Defenders: Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Alvaro Odriozola, Ferland Mendy
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Isco
Forwards: Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior, Mariano Diaz, Rodrygo Goes
Goalkeepers: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inaki Pena, Arnau Tenas
Defenders: Sergino Dest, Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Oscar Mingueza
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Miralem Pjanic, Riqui Puig, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Ilaix Moriba
Forwards: Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, Francisco Trincao
Match details, result and original broadcast info
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