It’s El Clasico time. The most anticipated fixture for the people in Spain, and also for every football fans across the globe in general. Since the last meeting between the two sides, when Barcelona won 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid have gently slipped away from the title race, and have a new manager in place.
The upcoming el clasico, therefore, is one of the more low key ones in recent years, where both the sides have nothing but pride to play for. At best, Madrid can take a sweet revenge while Atletico can reduce the gap at the top a bit, although it won’t stop Barcelona from becoming the inevitable La Liga champions.
The timing of this fixture can play a big role here. In a massive game like this, players and fans are usually all charged up, and everyone expect a tough contest in the middle. The fixture is therefore physically very demanding for the players. And it could hamper Barcelona’s preparations for the two legged Champions League quarter-final tie with fellow La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
The international break also came at the wrong time. It often disrupts the momentum of a winning side, and a high profile match following just after the break can be very tricky.
Luckily, for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, their top players have performed well during the international break. They look in good shape and will return to the club with a positive frame of mind.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner as Portugal defeated Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday. Likewise Toni Kroos was on scoresheet against Italy, as German defeated the Azzurri 4-1; their first time victory by 3 clear goals over the 4 times World Champions since 1939. James Rodriguez produced a superb performance for his country in Colombia’s 3-1 win over Ecuador, but suffered an injury in the second half, which could rule him out of the Barcelona tie.
Arda Turan continued his impressive form with his country, as Turkey produced a comeback to see off Austria 2-1 in Vienna. Luis Suarez was superb in both the matches for Uruguay as well. The former Liverpool star scored in the 2-2 draw against Brazil, and had set up Edinson Cavani’s winner in Uruguay’s victory over Peru.
Lionel Messi scored his 50th goal for Argentina, after he scored from penalty in 2-0 win over Bolivia in a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. The Argentine is closing on breaking Gabriel Batistuta’s goal record, with him being just six goals short of former Fiorentina striker. Neymar had a poor game against Uruguay and has received a strong criticism in the Brazilian press for his performance. However, his fellow countryman and Barcelona teammate Dani Alves scored a brilliant goal as Brazil drew 2-2 against Paraguay in the World Cup qualifier.