El Clasico takes to the road in Saudi Arabia as Real Madrid takes on Barcelona at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Wednesday.
We have already seen the first edition of this legendary rivalry when Real took a 2-1 victory over Barca at the Camp Nou back in October. The two clubs have been trending in two somewhat different directions since then.
Since the last match, Real Madrid went on a 9-match undefeated streak. That streak lasted an impressive 15 matches before Los Blancos lost to Getafe just a couple of weeks ago.
Barcelona haven’t been quite as impressive under new manager and club legend Xavi. They have just two wins in their last five matches, though they are undefeated in their last five as well. They sit just outside the top five of La Liga.
As expected, Dani Carvajal has returned to the squad in time for this match after returning to team training last week. Luka Jovic has also returned after testing positive for coronavirus last month. Gareth Bale remains out with an unspecified issue while Mariano is still out with injury.
Barcelona still has some key injuries absences including Frenkie de Jong, Ronald Araujo and Ansu Fati. They all made the trip to Riyadh, however they have not been medically cleared. Pedri did not travel with the squad. Eric Garcia will miss over a month of action due to injury. Sergino Dest, Gavi and Alejandro Balde have all returned from coronavirus protocol.
There are no suspensions for either club in this special edition of El Clasico.
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Vinicius, Benzema
Most of the starting lineup for Carlo Ancelotti’s men should remain similar to what he has been fielding as of late. The returning Carvajal could see a start, though he could also take it slow and start Lucas Vazquez as well.
Rodrygo should also get the start after returning to the squad and sitting on the bench against Valencia last weekend.
Ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Pique, Alba; Nico, Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Jutgla, Luuk de Jong
Real Madrid—Barcelona 3-2
This is always an exciting matchup as both of these clubs bring forth their best when the stakes are high and El Clasico is the main event.
It’s also a big match for the returning Carvajal and perhaps Jovic who could feature off the bench in his return to the squad. Ferran Torres is expected to make his debut as well in either his first appearance or even start for Barcelona.
One of these two rivals will be moving on to the Supercopa Final while one will be returning to Spain without advancement. Despite not being the grandest tournament, a win for either club is bragging rights.