WINDHOEK, OCT 21 – Barcelona have endured a difficult start to the season both domestically and in Europe, but their Los Blancos counterparts have not fared much better, though they have shown some encouraging signs of promise under returning coach Carlo Ancelotti.
However, the Italian is wary of his team’s “wrong attitude”, which sprung up in defeats to Sherriff and Espanyol just prior to the international break, and he will be determined to ensure that no such shortcomings are on show for the Clasico.
Barca, meanwhile, desperately need a big victory to boost morale and belief, with the Blaugrana already looking in danger of becoming an ‘also ran’ in La Liga this season. “It is a complicated situation. We’re suffering, I have to be honest about that,” said veteran defender Gerard Pique. “These are difficult times, we have not experienced them before. The atmosphere in the dressing room is very good and we want to turn it around.”
Memphis Depay – The Dutch attacker has looked at home in a Barcelona shirt and has taken on the mantle of being a talisman in attack. Depay’s movement, touch and intelligence will be crucial if the Blaugrana are to claim a win over Los Blancos.
Luka Modric – The veteran Croatian midfielder continues to be the heartbeat of Real Madrid, with his ability to orchestrate play from anywhere on the field virtually unmatched. Modric will look to pull the strings for another Real Madrid triumph in the Clasico.
In head-to-head stats, Barcelona and Real Madrid have met in 246 competitive matches, dating back to 1902. Los Blancos have 98 wins compared to 96 for the Blaugrana, while 52 games have been drawn.
Real completed a league ‘double’ over Barca last season, winning 3-1 at the Camp Nou in October 2020 and 2-1 in Madrid in April 2021. Los Blancos have put together a four-match unbeaten streak against their arch rivals.
Battles to watch
Gerard Pique v Karim Benzema – A classic battle of two veterans who are masters of their craft and represent the ‘old school’ at their current clubs. Pique and Benzema’s clash could well decide which team comes out on top on Sunday afternoon.
Frenkie de Jong v Eduardo Camavinga – De Jong has taken on greater responsibility for Barcelona and looks to be maturing nicely, but he’ll have a tough test against the all-action Camavinga, whose energy, passing and tackling have helped Real dominate the ‘engine room’ in recent matches.
Ansu Fati v Eder Militao – Barca’s African-born forward may not start the match, but he’s sure to appear at some point in their attack, which will be a ‘red alert’ moment for centre-back Eder Militao as he aims to quell Fati’s potent threat.
Match broadcast details
Sunday 24 October
16:15: Barcelona v Real Madrid – LIVE on SuperSport La Liga, SuperSport Maximo 2 and SuperSport GOtv La Liga – MultiChoice Namibia