*WATCH* Real Madrid vs Barcelona Prediction & Preview: El Clasico lineups, injury news, where to watch, kick-off time, news & more
El Clasico is the biggest game of the season. Who can take one huge step towards the title?
This year’s La Liga title race is closer than ever – with just two points separating the Spanish giants, there’s a lot hinging on this El Clasico.
For those new to football, El Clasico sees two of world football’s biggest superpowers – Real Madrid and Barcelona – battle it out.
In Real’s camp, Frenchman Karim Benzema is the player to watch. He kicked off the campaign with 13 goals in 16 games but his confidence has waned of late. On his day, he’s still one of the best in the world.
In Barca’s corner, Lionel Messi will be the man pulling the strings (as per usual). The Argentine, who turns 33 this year, has already taken part in a staggering 42 El Clasicos, one short of the current record holder, Los Blancos defender Sergio Ramos.
Ramos was recently asked his opinion on the Barca talisman, and had nothing but respect for him.
“I have huge respect for him,” he told La Liga. “I think he’s one of the greatest players in history and I have huge respect for him.
“I hope Sunday isn’t his day, that would mean we’ve done our job, and if on top of that we can get a good result even better.
“I wish him all the best as a fellow professional but only as long as it doesn’t affect us negatively! It’s hard, but he has my maximum respect, I think he’s one of the best.”
Sadly, both teams haven’t been at their best, with Real Madrid and Barcelona failing to get a win in their recent Champions League knockout clashes, but there’s no doubt they’ll come out fighting this Sunday.
Can Real prove the doubters wrong and regain La Liga dominance? Or will Barcelona take a step towards a third consecutive title, despite their injury crisis?
Real Madrid predicted lineup
Sergio Ramos (c)
Real Madrid injury news
The big injury miss for Real Madrid is Eden Hazard (leg) who has suffered an injury nightmare since his summer move from Chelsea.
Marco Asensio (knee) remains sidelined and is still a month away from a return.
Mariano Diaz (knock) could return, but could be in need of some fitness before returning for a big clash.
READ MORE: FIFA 20 predicts Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Manager Zinedine Zidane seems to be rotating Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in midfield, with the German likely to return to the starting lineup for El Clasico.
At left back, it appears Ferland Mendy has won the battle for the starting spot ahead of the experienced Marcelo.
After starting Vinicius Jr against Manchester City in the Champions League, Zidane now could opt for some experience with Gareth Bale.
Barcelona predicted lineup
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Frenkie de Jong
Lionel Messi (c)
Barcelona injury news
Barca have had a load of injury troubles, forcing them to make the emergency, and controversial, signing of Leganes forward Martin Braithwaite.
The new arrival could start in attack or out on the left, with Ansu Fati an alternative, or even Arturo Vidal – who has lined up out wide or as an attacking midfielder in recent weeks.
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Luis Suarez (knee), Ousmane Dembele (hamstring), Sergi Roberto (abductor), and Jordi Alba (hamstring) are all on the sidelines, leaving manager Quique Setien with the bare bones.
Not only that, but Gerard Pique (ankle) limped off against Napoli, meaning Setien may have to line up with two left-footed centre-halves in Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet.
Date: Sunday, 2 March 2020
Kick-off time: 3pm ET / 8pm GMT
Location: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid (Real Madrid)
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
On TV: Premier Sports (UK), beIN SPORTS (USA)