Spanish newspaper, Marca, has broken the news that El Clasico rivals, Real Madrid and Barcelona, will play a friendly as part of the opening ceremony for the new high-speed train line in Saudi Arabia.
The friendly will be played in Islam’s headquarter, Mecca. Although there doesn’t appear to be an official agreement yet but the event’s promoters believe that the game will be played as planned.
The high-speed train in a project of a consortium of 12 companies from Spain. The project has a budget of €6,736 million and is expected to be finished in 2016. The train is being referred to as the Desert AVE or the Pilgrims’ AVE.
It is going to connect Mecca to Medina, which is 450 km away. It is a journey that Muslim pilgrims carry out during the annual Hajj pilgrimage – hence the name Pilgrims’ AVE (AVE stands for ‘Alta Velocidad Espanola’).
At the moment, Barca and Real are, both, preparing for a tough few weeks ahead in La Liga and the Champions League. Their fate in the league seems decided already as Barcelona are 12 points clear of any potential threat and Real Madrid are 16 points away from being any threat.
The Champions League is treating both similarly as they’re both facing early exits from the competition in the Round of 16. Madrid are heading to Old Trafford and although tied on aggregate, Manchester United have an away goal advantage. While Barcelona were at the recieving end of a shocking 2-0 defeat by AC Milan at San Siro.
Before either of the teams play the return leg of the Round of 16, they will play back-to-back El Clasicos – one in the Copa del Rey on the 26th Feb and the other in the league on 2nd March.
Both the teams are not going to be cut any slack, as Barcelona is already preparing to host Sevilla at the weekend and Madrid are preparing a trip to Deportivo La Coruna on the same day.
Following the El Clasico week, Madrid will only get three days’ practice before facing Manchester United. Barcelona, however, will get a week’s break from football before playing Deportivo at the weekend and Milan in the midweek.