EL CLASICO: The clash of the Titans.

By Manav Panwar.

El Clasico is one of the most exciting and anticipated sporting events in world football and two of the most decorated clubs in Europe are set to battle it out for the bragging rights.Real Madrid will be hoping to avenge their loss against Barcelona from earlier this season, whereas the Catalan giants will want to pile further misery on bitter rivals.

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For both its sustained tension and historical significance, few football rivalries can be compared to Spain’s El Clásico, between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The stories of Alfredo di Stéfano, General Franco, Santiago Bernabéu, and Luis Figo are legendary, stoking a rivalry of regions that encompasses an entire nation and captivates the world. These actors of a great sporting drama are the heart of Spanish culture, politics, and society, and each deserves an in-depth look at the true meaning of El Clátussle.

It’s the match that grips the world and on Sunday the 3rd of April(for Indian viewers), Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona clash at the Camp Nou in the latest rendition of the world famous El Clasico.

Los Blancos are third in the table, ten points behind fierce rivals Barcelona. Although a win for Real changes very little in terms of the title race, Zidane will be desperate for a win in his first clasico as Real Madrid manager.
Real have considerably improved in their attacking department since the arrival of Zinedine Zidane, but their defensive weakness is a cause for concern against Barcelona.
Having one of the most efficient attacking trio in world football, Barcelona will punish any defensive error.
Zidane will be delighted to have everyone  fully fit in training and a full fledged squad to choose from after the infamous international breaks that are known for returning players to clubs with injuries. The numerous options will give Zidane plenty to experiment during training and devise a wise game plan to overcome fierce rivals Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Real Madrid suffered a 4 – 0 defeat on 21/11/15 under former boss Rafa Benitez in their previous El classico before the international break, but there will be no greater boost in form for Cristiano Ronaldo and co than another clash with their arch rivals from Catalonia.

Luis Suarez and Neymar have been flying for Barcelona ever since Messi was injured. The Argentine magician made his return from a knee injury that had kept him out for the best part of two months just in time for the last titanic tussle.

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Camp Nou, Stadium of FC Barcelona.

A blue-red-yellow-hot atmosphere will greet both sides as they make their way onto the lush green of the Camp Nou but, who will settle quickest?

Let’s take a look at three things that will decide El Clasico…

1) Current Form

A fairly obvious starting point but one that will might give Zidane nightmares.

Despite Barcelona being hampered by an ever-growing injury list, the Fifa-imposed transfer ban and not playing anywhere near their best for long periods this season, the Catalans still approach this fixture ten points ahead of their eternal rivals.

Benitez had suffered in trying to get his message across, a swashbuckling and attack-minded side seemingly not at all comfortable with the more defensive set up that the manager prefers.

There’s little doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale won’t want to sit back on their haunches in this one.

The locals will demand wave after wave of incessant pressure on Barca’s creaking back line and with Zidane in charge there stand less chances to be left disappointed this time. A 1-0 victory for Los Blancos will not sit just as nicely indeed with their new manager.

2) Ronaldo v Alves

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If there is one area where Madrid are likely to profit, it is down Barca’s right hand side.

Dani Alves, for all of his laudable effervescence, remains a liability in defence and in a footrace with Ronaldo, there is only one winner..

Gareth Bale is likely to be back as the number 10 and some sharp and accurate passing in behind Alves from the Welshman will be manna from heaven for the Portuguese.

The Brazilian will need to choose his forays carefully if he wants to end up on the winning side here.

3) Keylor key

imageIf there’s one player who has performed above and beyond during this campaign for Real Madrid, it is goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Just three goals conceded in his 13 games before the last El Classico speaks volumes for his prowess between the sticks and the hosts will be having their hearts thudding with every penetration MSN will make.

Agile, commanding, quick off of his line and a shot stopper extraordinaire, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi will need to be at their very best to get any change from the Costa Rican.

The herculian task will be stopping Barcelonas front three.
So the game plan has to be something of  a focused rigid structure and not let MSN drag Real Madrids Defense out of position.

Danilo, Carvajal Pepe Varane Ramos Marcelo, Nacho and Arbeloa are at the defensive end of Real Madrid.

Danilo and Carvajal will be on the right.

Pepe, Varane and Ramos at the center.

Marcelo, Nacho and Arbeloa on the left.

Nacho and arbeloa won’t be starting and shall be introduced with time being right for the moment.

There’s a lot to keep in mind about the last minute injuries too.
Let’s just hope both the teams come out with their full squad.

Its really great to have fans back you up.
And really intimidating to have the crowd against you, and this would be in abundance for the both teams at Camp Nou.

4-3-3 it will be as usual but they wouldn’t want it to be as usual again Barcelona.

It is going to be tight.

One silly foul and a player is sent off and the team is down to ten men,
Or missing an opportunity where making a through pass would be better rather than going for a goal.
Anything can happen,
No place for error,
Because both sides are quite capable of capitalizing on mistakes.

The stage is set for Real Madrid versus Barcelona, the second El Clasico of the 2015/16 campaign.

With the possible exception of the Champions League final, it is the one European club game where the whole of planet football stands to attention.

Football world will stop when Barcelona host Real Madrid for the second time this season.  The world’s six most expensive players could be on the field together. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, Ronaldo and James Rodriguez, along with Barca’s Neymar and Luis Suarez costing a combined £367m.

Enthralled. Enchanted.

VISCA EL BARCA
HALA MADRID

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