This is always an interesting fixture because of what it means in and of itself, but there are five specific reasons to pay close attention to this Sunday's encounter.
ElClasico is the football match that always attracts the whole world’s attention. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet at the Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday, 19 March for their latest duel, with the title race reaching the final stretch and with extra focus on certain players, such as Pedri or Éder Militão. Here are five reasons why you just can’t miss this weekend’s blockbuster match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The battle for the ball
One of the most interesting aspects of this upcoming FC Barcelona v Real Madrid match-up will be the battle for the ball. During the Copa del Rey ElClasico at the Santiago Bernabéu, the most recent meeting of these two teams, Barça recorded the lowest possession percentage since records began. That’s a statistic they will need to improve on in front of their home fans, who will not allow them to give the ball away to Real Madrid. For his part, Carlo Ancelotti will have to find a way to keep as much possession as last time but to threaten the opposition’s goal a little more, to make such dominance count.
A final in LaLiga Santander
Even though there are still several weeks and rounds to go until the end of the LaLiga Santander season, the fight for the title is now entering its final stretch. The current gap is nine points and if Real Madrid beat Los Blaugranas, then they’ll still have hope of fighting for the championship, but if FC Barcelona beat Los Blancos, the title is practically sealed and it will be difficult (if not impossible) for anyone to pull back their lead before the end of the season. This game is practically a LaLiga Santander final for Real Madrid, who must go to the Spotify Camp Nou and take all three points if they want to have any hope of fighting for the title until the end.
Uncertainty over some of the legendary players
The focus will also be on some of the legendary players of both teams, as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sergio Busquets are all out of contract at the end of this season. At the moment, it isn’t known if they will renew and this could be the last ElClasico in LaLiga Santander for them, after so many participations. These midfielders have been among the stars of this rivalry for the last decade and Busquets is the player who has played the most Real Madrid v FC Barcelona games in history, with 46. The uncertainty of these players’ futures will be a talking point going into this match.
Pedri is back
One of FC Barcelona’s top players will return after weeks of injury, as Pedri will once again be running the show for this Barça team. The Canary Islander is fundamental for Xavi, both for his quality on the pitch and for the calmness that his teammates have when he is out there with them. Moreover, Pedri knows what it’s like to score against Real Madrid, as he did so in the final of the Spanish Super Cup earlier this year.
Militão’s good run of form
Another player to look out for is Éder Militão. He is in excellent form at the heart of Real Madrid’s defence and will be in charge of stopping Robert Lewandowski, the top scorer in the division with 15 goals. With just 22 fouls in 21 games, the centre-back has become the defensive benchmark for Ancelotti’s team and he is an offensive weapon too. Thanks to his good aerial play, the Brazilian defender has already scored four goals in the current LaLiga Santander season. He is very much an opponent who Xavi's team will have to keep an eye on in both areas.