Real Madrid: 0
Goal – Suarez (54′)
Red Card – Carvajal (64′)
Goal – Messi (64′)
Goal – Vidal (94′)
Wake up, America. It’s time for the greatest club rivalry on the planet.
Ronaldo and Real Madrid host Messi and Barcelona in the first league Clasico of the season. In the past few meetings, this has been a tense moment at the top of the Spanish table for the two title-contending teams. But for Real Madrid, this is a massive home game that could decide the title race before the turning of the calendar.
Barcelona hold 11 points over Madrid heading into the Bernabeu, a wide but not insurmountable margin. The Catalans have done well under new manager Ernesto Valverde, who has lost only twice since taking over as manager. The health of Messi has been crucial to the team’s success: Messi leads the Spanish Primera with 18 goals, and is third with five assists.
It’s Messi at the top, but discipline has kept Barcelona atop the table. Barca has only allowed seven goals this year, and has the best goal differential in Spain by 15 goals. The defense will be needed Saturday, as Madrid present a nearly-full strength squad for the derby.
It was only August when Real Madrid were sweeping Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, cruising to a 5-1 aggregate win. Madrid also pulled down the Club World Cup, but the domestic campaign has been a disappointment leading into Saturday’s pivotal matchup.
Madrid have dropped matches to Real Betis and Girona this season, two mid-table teams that have no business toppling Zidane’s men. But Madrid have been hobbled this season, and that’s reflected in their lack of consistency.
It’s weird at this point in the season, but not a single player on Madrid’s roster has five goals in La Liga this season. In fact, Saturday could be the first time that Madrid’s “BBC” trio could all start up top.
Injuries haven’t been an issue for Barcelona this season. Familiar faces Samuel Umtiti, Paco Alcacer, and Gerard Deulofeu have all been sidelined long-term.
If Barcelona put the league on ice before Christmas, it would leave Madrid to focus on a third straight Champions LEague title run. Real Madrid have a date with Neymar and PSG in February, while Barcelona will take on Premier League titleholders Chelsea.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. Eastern and will air on beIN Sports in the USA. After kickoff, keep this page refreshed for updates and video highlights of every goal.
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