El Clasico is the biggest game in world football, and for Zinedine Zidane, it will absolutely be his most important game as a manager. Real Madrid will be going into this game with everything against them while Barcelona will be looking to pay tribute to the late football revolutionary and legend, Johan Cruyff, by grabbing a win over a Real Madrid side that comes with psychological damage after being annihilated 0-4 at home in the last Clasico. Let's not forget that since Jose Mourinho was the manager, Real has failed to win away at the Camp Nou.
However, even with all of these factors against them, Real Madrid is still able to win this game.
One of the few positives is that Zidane seems to have finally found his starting 11 by putting Casemiro behind Kroos and Modric - giving his team that long sought after balance between defense and midfield. Casemiro seems to fit Real hand-in-glove at the moment, and considering the next fixture, Zizou knows Real can not allow themselves to have any oversight. Zidane knows that playing Casemiro not only brings his team a more defensively influential presence but also allows Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to join the attack in a more unrestricted fashion.
The news from Valdebebas this week is that one of Zidane's biggest hopes is having Bale fully fit for this showdown. The Welshman has been completing very intense ball work and agility tests to reaffirm his form for this game. Bale holds a very special spot for this match, with Jordi Alba rumored to be out with an injury after picking up a knock after the last International break. This leaves the LB spot in Barcelona for Jeremy Mathieu, a player who, in speed alone, is no match for Gareth Bale. A weakened left-flank for Barcelona can mean a fantastic opportunity for Bale to exploit the wing and possibly open up the match for Real Madrid. This could possibly also mean one of Barcelona's center backs move out of position in order to help Mathieu out, leaving more open space for the BBC.
Even if Jordi Alba does make it in time for El Clasico (which is very doubtful), if Real Madrid is completely wired in attack, scoring should not be a problem considering Barcelona has conceded three goals in their last two games.
Zidane knows exactly how high the stakes are for this game, and another fiasco at the hands of Barcelona will be simply inadmissible. Once again though, a response is ultimately up to the players because if there's one thing this season has taught us, it's that Real Madrid's worst enemy is Real Madrid.