Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
Venue: Camp Nou
Kick off: 7:30
Barcelona welcome the visit of Real Madrid in the El Clasico with Ernesto Valverde’s side already crowned La Liga champions.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real charges will be heading to Catalonia full of confidence having made it into the final of the Champions League, and will now be hoping to prevent Barca going the entire La Liga season unbeaten.
Barcelona are arguably employing their most functional squad in recents years, but Valverde’s charges have shown nothing but ruthless consistency during their march to the La Liga title.
The Catalan outfit wrapped up the Spanish top-flight crown last weekend following a predictable win over Deportivo La Coruna, signalling a domestic triumph with four games still to play.
Valverde will now be looking to create an ‘Invincibles’ side by capping off the term unbeaten.
Valverde’s tenure has not always been smooth, especially when defensive mistakes and a lack of control in the middle have stirred criticism in the Spanish press, but thankfully Barca have had Lionel Messi to call on when needed, who has produced some of his best domestic form of late.
The Argentine forward has played a part in 44 of Barcelona’s 87 goals in La Liga and has proven an irreplaceable cog in Barcelona’s dominance in the league this term.
Messi was crucial in the reverse of the Clasico just before Christmas, when the 30-year-old scored twice in a dominating 3-0 win in the Spanish capital.
With four games remaining, Madrid sit in third position in the standings and are now battling to overhaul city rivals Atletico Madrid in order to claim a second-place finish come the end of the month.
As things stand, Diego Simeone’s men hold a four-point lead over Real, but Zidane’s charges do have a game in hand over Los Colchoneros.
Added to the chase, Madrid will also revel in the opportunity to thwart Barcelona’s pursuit of an unbeaten championship win by claiming victory today.
Barcelona possible XI: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Coutinho, Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi.
Real Madrid possible XI: Navas, Vasquez, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.