El Classico: Will Messi stop Zidane's unbeaten run in Camp Nou?
Kathmandu : Today, the worldwide football fans will be divided into two poles. Because, the first El-Classico of this season is tonight, where the two prestigious clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid are facing each other.
This game was orginally scheduled on 26 October in Barcelona's home ground Camp Nou. But it was postponed because of the Catalonia protest. The game was proposed to be held on Madrid, howeverboth the teams denied.
Due to the Catalonia unrest, both teams are kept in the same hotel. From where both the teams will be taken to the stadiumtogether two hours before the game starts amidtightsecurity. With the fear of potential obstruction in the match, more than 3 thousands security personnel will be deployed during the match.
Both teams have the equal 35 points in Spanish La Liga. Barcelona is in the top position than Real Madrid just with the goal difference.
Last season, El Classico was taken as the game whereLeonel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo locked horns to prove who is the best in the planet. Since, Ronaldo's departure to Serie A, the situation has changed. However, the importance of this game has not declined.
For the past few years, Barcelona have come on top during El Classico. It has remained undefeated in last six classicoincluding home and away.
What statistics say?
Head to Head
-In La Liga, Barcelona has won 72 games against Real Madrid,more than other teams. Whereas, Real Madrid has also defeated Barcelona for maximum 72 times.
-If Barcelona wins today's game, it will win more games than Real Madrid in the history of El Classico.
-Barcelona is only one goal awayfrom 400 goal mark in El Classico and four goals away fromthe record 403 goalsheld by Real Madrid.
-In the last six games, Real Madrid has not been able to defeat Barcelona (2 draw, 4 lost). After 2011, it is the worst run ofReal Madrid in El Classico wherethey failed to win 7 games.
-Lionel Messi has failed toscoreor assist against Real Madrid in the last three games. However, the Argentine player has never stayed quite against Real Madridin four games.
- Luis Suarez could be the third player to score more than 10 goals in La Liga against Real Madrid. Before him are Leonel Messi (18) and Sejar Rodriguez (12).
- Sergio Roberto has 6 assists in 8 games against Real Madrid for Barcelona among which 5 goals have been scored by Luis Swarez.
- Real Madrid's captain, Sergio Ramos will be the most capped player in El Classico with 43 games after today. Before him, Monales Sanchez, Francisco Gentoo and Xavi had played 42 games. After joining Real from Sevilla in 2005, he hasplayed all El Classico. He hasscoredfour goals,all by header.
- Zinedine Zidane has remained undefeated as manager in the last four games in Camp Nou. Among those games, he won two and two were tie. If he reamains undefeated today, he will be the first manager of Real Madrid to be undefeated in Camp Nou for 5 consecutive games.
- Real Madrid has remained undefeated in their last 11 games winning 8 and drawing 3.
Eden Hazard, who was brought as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, will miss his first El Classico due to injury. Similarly, Marcelo, Lucas Vazquez, James Rodriguez, Alvaro Odriozola and Brahim will also not be there in the team.
Team: Thiyabut Courtois, Alfonse Areola, Diego Altube, Danny Carvajal, Eder Militão, Sergio Ramos, Raphaël Varane, Nacho, Ferland Mendi, Toni Kroos, Luca Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Isco, Karim Benzema, Garath Bale, Luca Jović, Vinicius Jr., Rodrigo
Osman Dembele and Arthur will miss the game from Barcelona.
Team: Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitić, Sergio Roberto, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neto, Clement Lenglet, AntonieGriezmann, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, FrenkieDe Jong, Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Carles Perez, Ansu Fati
Player to watch
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid, 12 goals
French player remained in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for a long time. Since Ronaldo's departure, Benzema has unleashed himself as the main player in Madrid. He is in a good form recently and wants to continue his form and perform well today. He has scored12 goals equal to Barcelona's star Leonel Messi. This season, he has already scored 16 goals in 21 matches. Once Jose Mourinho had labelled Benzema 'cat' but now he proved that he is a lion, not a cat. If Barcelona wants to stop Real Madrid in today's game, it should tamethe lion first.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona, 12 goals
The record sixtime winnerof Ballon D'or Leonel Messi, has been the most valuable player and a backbone for Barcelona forlong time. In his absence, Barcelona has failed to perform to their potential. In this season too, Messi has rescued Barcelona inmany occasions. Though he does not have a very good record against their arch rivals in the last few games games. You can never take the magician out of the equation. After all he has already scored 12 goals this season in La Liga. We might see his magic again today.
When is the match?
El Classico starts on Thursday morning (tonight), at 12:45 am NST. You can see the match live on Facebook.