Barcelona to visit Santiago Bernabeu in El Clasico
The El Clasico is upon us. The two powerhouses of Spanish football will lock horns at the Santigao Bernabeu stadium on Saturday. There is no margin for error as Zidane and his men trail Barcelona by 11 points in the league and like always, the result of this fixture could be decisive in where the La Liga title is heading this season.
Must win fixture for Real Madrid
Real Madrid won the La Liga and Champions League double last term, but they have not hit the heights this season putting Zidane under pressure. A loss at home to Barcelona could signal the end of Zidane's managerial stint at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, the defending champions are high on confidence after winning the World Club Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Beaten at home
The last time, the two sides met each other at the Bernabéu in the La Liga, Barcelona claimed a dramatic 3-2 victory. Real have not won a Clasico at home since 2014 and have failed to keep a clean sheet in the fixture since 2006.
All eyes on out of form Ronaldo
Real's 2017 campaign began with Ronaldo earning a 5 match suspension for shoving a referee. Since then, he has been struggling to hit form. Ronaldo, who had 10 goals in La Liga at this stage last season, has just four this year. However, the 5 time Ballon d'Or winner is a man who brings his best on big occasions.
Messi is the 'Real' nightmare
Lionel Messi is the top scorer in El Clasico history with 24 goals to his name, of which 14 have come at the Santiago Bernabeu. On the other hand, rival Cristiano Ronaldo has 17 El Clasico goals and is third on all time scoring charts.
Will Bale and Benzema step up?
It's not just Ronaldo from Real, who has struggled in front of goal. The main reason for Real Madrid's downfall this year has been the lack of goals from their attacking trio. Bale and Benzema who had 5 and 4 goals each at this time of the season last year, have just two a piece this year.
Barcelona look to continue unbeaten run
As for Barcelona, they are unbeaten in the La Liga with 13 wins and three draws and have conceded only seven goals so far. They have also won their Champions League group without a loss. Their unbeaten run extends to 24 games in all competitions. The Catlans are on top of the La Liga table, six points ahead of their nearest challengers Atletico Madrid.
Barca now are hard to break down
Barcelona are well known for their attacking prowess. However, this season they have given more focus to being disciplined defensively. The addition of Paulinho who is an excellent stopper in the midfield has helped this cause. But Barca would miss injured Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid could do some damage in Saturday.