Real Madrid battle Barca in blockbuster El Clasico showdown
To a die-hard football fan, the words ‘El Clasico’ need no elaboration. Simply put, Real Madrid versus Barcelona. This version carries too many sub-plots; the obvious one being Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi, though Coral are offering odds of 4/1 on both superstars scoring, with punters able to stake a maximum of £20.
Both players have been speaking prior to the match, and reigning World Player of the Year Ronaldo is keen to play down any rivalry: “I am not going to play against Messi, I am going to playing against Barcelona,” he said.
“I don’t understand why they put the match on Saturday,” Ronaldo added. “It is a difficult match and all footballers know that an extra day’s rest is significant. Cup matches aren’t so important. However, I don’t want to make excuses because the team are fine and confident.”
Messi, meanwhile, who could break the La Liga goal record at the Bernabeu, is excited to see Luis Suarez in the squad: “We are excited for Luis to play because he will add his strength to the team,” the Argentina icon said. “I’m happy for him because he has spent a long time off the pitch.”
Los Blancos are 7/5 to win the match, with the visitors priced at 2/1, though Barca boss Luis Enrique will welcome Suarez into the squad, which will be his first competitive match after serving a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
One key decision Enrique must make is whether he disrupts a winning team to accommodate the Uruguayan; however, the 27-year-old has shown his ability to be a match winner, and slot effortlessly into a system, and is 11/2 to net last.
On Suarez, Enrique simply said: “He will have some minutes for sure.”
The amount of attacking talent on show will quite simply be breathtaking. Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Suarez, James Rodriguez, go figure. It is a concoction of quality, though both sets of defenders will have a hard task containing their opposite numbers.
For the home side, the defensive attributes of Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos could be the difference, with Barca only having Sergio Busquets to protect a new-look defence under Enrique. That being said, the Catalan giants are yet to concede in La Liga with Chile captain Claudio Bravo amazing value at 9/2 to keep a clean sheet.
Barcelona did the double over their fierce rivals last season, beating them 2-1 at the Bernabeu, however Carlo Ancelotti’s side defeated them in the Copa del Rey final. Benzema bagged a brace in the same league fixture last term and is 8/1 to achieve the same feat or better.
In the same clash, however, Messi hit a hat-trick and is 20/1 to do so again, having netted nine times in 11 appearances so far this season, across all competitions. Whatever happens, there are subplots galore, though you can guarantee there will be goals and drama.