Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has named his 23-man squad for Saturday’s crunch La Liga clash with Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.
There is some good news on the injury front too, as first-choice left-back Jordi Alba is included after recovering from a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since hobbling off in the 1-1 draw with Sevilla.
Barcelona has confirmed that Alba has been medically cleared to play, although it remains to be seen if Koeman will put him straight back into his starting XI.
The only big names missing from the squad are goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who remains out after undergoing knee surgery, and center-back Samuel Umtiti.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Barcelona and Real Madrid Under Pressure
Saturday’s Clasico sees the unusual situation of both Barcelona and Real Madrid heading into the match after defeats in their previous league games. Getafe enjoyed a rare win over Barcelona at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, while Real Madrid was shocked by newly-promoted Cadiz.
Indeed the two sides have not enjoyed their usual dominance in the early weeks of the the new campaign. Real Madrid also dropped points against Real Sociedad in La Liga, and head into the match after another shock defeat in the Champions League.
Los Blancos were beaten 3-2 by Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. Manager Zinedine Zidane rested some of his big stars for the match, with El Clasico in mind, but the decision backfired.
Ramos to Miss El Clasico?
One Real Madrid player who missed the Shakhtar defeat and could also sit out Saturday’s clash is captain Sergio Ramos. The center-back has a knee injury and may not be fit for the trip to Barcelona.
If Ramos does miss out it would be a huge blow for Zidane’s men. Real Madrid has lost seven of their last eight Champions League games when Ramos has not been in the side, as reported by BBC Sport.
Barcelona will surely relish taking on a weakened Real Madrid backline, particularly after putting five past Hungarian champions Ferencvaros in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Yet Koeman was cautious when talking about his team’s opponents in his pre-match press conference on Friday, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
It may be that Madrid in the last two days have not had good results, but that does not mean that they have low morale. They have very experienced people and they know that they must win the game after the last two defeats.
When you make mistakes you want to improve. Madrid players have a lot of experience in this type of game. I don’t expect a vulnerable Madrid. The oppositition has quality. We know that in the past they played 4-4-2 and I think they will not leave spaces like against Cádiz and Shakhtar.
A win for Barcelona would put the team level on points with Real Madrid but with a game in hand on their fierce rivals. It would also increase the pressure on Zidane after a disappointing start to the campaign.