Coral’s combined El Clasico XI: Who made our in-form line-up?
Do you agree with our all-star side, featuring some of the biggest names in football, as well as perhaps a few surprise absentees?
Claudio Bravo – goalkeeper (Barcelona)
Replacing a club icon, in Victor Valdes, is never an easy task, but Bravo has really shown up the Spaniard in his short spell so far. The Chilean World Cup captain has yet to concede in his first eight games – a Barca record. Iker Casillas’ demise has been spectacular in the last couple seasons, which is why he misses out. Bravo’s side are 17/4 chances to shut out Real as well.
Daniel Carvajal – right back (Real Madrid)
The Real Madrid youth graduate keeps going from strength to strength, and is seemingly the club’s first choice right back now, ahead of Alvaro Arbeloa, in La Liga anyway. His absence in Los Blancos’ home league defeat to rivals Atletico really showed, but has helped his side to clean sheets in each of his last three games. Carvajal is the type of player who quietly goes about his business, but his all-round ability and tenacity this term put him ahead of Dani Alves in this team.
Javier Mascherano – centre back (Barcelona)
Arguably in the side by default, Mascherano has played in five La Liga games so far this term but, like his keeper, has managed to stop all teams from scoring. Real trio Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Raphael Varane have all had their moments this season, but let in too many goals or not featured enough. Barca’s Gerard Pique, meanwhile, has been used sparingly.
Jeremy Mathieu – centre back (Barcelona)
Despite been overlooked by his nation France on so many occasions, 30-year-old Mathieu was our first choice centre back on this list. The four-capped left-footer has enjoyed a terrific term so far since signing from Valencia in the summer, and has helped his side win all seven La Liga games this season he has played in, conceding none. Mathieu has even ousted Pique in the Barca line-up.
Marcelo – left back (Real Madrid)
Real have been leaky in defence this term, having let in 13 from 14 in all competitions, but Brazilian Marcelo has been more potent in attack, helping the capital club by setting up five goals. Barca’s Jordi Alba is arguably the better all-round player, but has helped out with just one assist, and missed two of his side’s last three La Liga games.
Ivan Rakitic – centre midfield (Barcelona)
The first of two Croatians in this XI, Rakitic has thrived in the Barcelona team this term, and look a great replacement for the ageing Xavi. A new signing this summer, the 26-year-old has featured in all but two matches this season in all competitions, and has netted two plus made an assist. He has certainly helped forward players like Lionel Messi and Neymar thrive.
Toni Kroos – centre midfield (Real Madrid)
Another player readying himself for his first El Clasico is World Cup-winner Kroos. The German has featured in every game for Real this season so far and has helped Madrid out by getting five assists, including for Karim Benzema’s looping header against Liverpool in the Champions League. Kroos is set to be a key protagonist for his teammates here again.
Luka Modric – centre midfield (Real Madrid)
The diminutive Croatian has highly impressed since his move to Spain from Spurs in 2012. He has become a key and regular player for Real, mainly playing further back, and has still managed to score once and create three others this term so far in all competitions.
Lionel Messi – forward (Barcelona)
With nine goals in 11 appearances for Barca this season, those stats could be classed as below average in terms of the Argentine’s stellar career. However, they are still incredible figures, that has been backed up by a total of 11 assists as well. Messi has scored four in his last three La Liga games, and makes this side ahead of the injured Gareth Bale, returning Luis Suarez and James Rodriguez, who is unlucky to miss out.
Cristiano Ronaldo – forward (Real Madrid)
Undoubtedly the star of this XI, superstar forward Ronaldo has once again smashed scoring records, hitting in an unworldly 18 times from 10 La Liga and Champions League clashes this season, including recently getting his first at Anfield against Liverpool. Three hat-tricks already this Spanish top-flight campaign suggest he is the leading contender for a second consecutive Ballon d’Or award. He is 16/1 for another treble in this upcoming fixture.
Neymar – forward (Barcelona)
The Brazilian swiftly recovered form a spinal fracture suffered at the World Cup in time for the new season, and has showed no sign of lacking fitness, smashing in eight times in his last six La Liga games. Neymar will be hoping he gets the nod ahead of Suarez, who is set for his first match back in competitive football following his infamous early Brazil finals exit.