Real Madrid take on Barcelona in the standout clash in world football as they look to remain in La Liga’s acquisition until the end.
Real Madrid are looking very much in-form having seen off Liverpool in the Champions League and are riding an unbeaten streak of 12 matches. However, the latest challenge in front of them is perhaps their most difficult of the season and arguably the most important too. A Barcelona side firing on all cylinders visits the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium in La Liga.
Zinedine Zidane will be hoping that his side can pick up all three points on Saturday evening, to not just do a historic double over their arch-rivals, but also take a massive step in potentially defending their league crown. However, the Whites must do so without three key defenders in Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, while Eden Hazard also has not been named in the squad as a precautionary measure.
Thibaut Courtois will keep his place in goal for the Merengues. The Belgian has been superb in between the sticks, but he has kept only two clean sheets in the last eight games. Having said that, he will look to keep his goal non-breached against the Blaugrana. An unchanged centre-back pairing will see Eder Militao join Nacho in the heart of defence.
While the central defenders were incredible against Liverpool midweek, the plaudits also belong to Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vazquez who were never out of steam. They will be put to the test once again versus the likes of Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele. Mendy will start as the left back, whereas Vazquez will play as a right-back, although the option of a three-man defence with the Frenchman is on the cards too.
Casemiro has been buoyant in midfield and despite looking weary towards the end in the last match, his importance to the team cannot be overstated. The Brazilian will start once more in the hub of the engine room. Toni Kroos will hope to continue his sublime form against the Catalans. Luka Modric is likely to deservedly rest in place of Federico Valverde.
Vinicius Junior scored the last time these two sides met in the Spanish capital. The 20-year-old was on target twice against the Reds and will look to transcend his continental form domestically. His involvement on the left flank of attack is beyond question. Marco Asensio also looks set to be a nailed on starter on the right wing, hoping to continue his great form that has seen him notch four goals in as many of his last matches.
March’s La Liga player of the month, Karim Benzema, will lead the line and also captain the side in El Clasico. The 33-year-old has failed to score in this fixture for over three years and nine matches now, but with nine goals in his last eight matches for Real Madrid, Benzema will look to make his mark and drive Los Blancos to their third straight win against Barca, a feat that has ducked them for the entirety of this century.