Real Madrid vs Barcelona, International Champions Cup: What time is kick-off, what TV channel is it on and is Neymar going to play. Watch Real Madrid can take a leap toward securing this season’s La Liga title when they play host to Barcelona in the second of this season’s El Clasico meetings on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It’s the biggest rivalry in club soccer — El Clasico. Real Madrid and Barcelona will play on Saturday at the Nou Camp with plenty on the line in this early season matchup in La Liga. Here’s everything you need to know. Check back here on Saturday morning for a live blog with commentary and updates to follow along with the game.
What time is kick-off?
This El Clasico-lite is in the early hours of Sunday morning. The match gets under way at 1.05am BST, which is 8.05pm on Saturday local time.
What is the team news?
Cristiano Ronaldo is still on holiday following his exertions at the Confederations Cup with Portugal so Real are without their talisman.
Gareth Bale, a rumoured target for Manchester United earlier this week, will play in Zinedine Zindane’s front-three alongside Karim Benzema and playmaker Isco – who was so impressive in their Champions League run last season.
Barcelona have the full compliment if Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar to select from, though the Brazilian might find himself exiled from the squad after his training ground bust-up with Nelson Semedo.
Rafinha and Gerard Deulofeu, who returned to Catalonia from Everton this summer, are both out injured.
How have they been playing coming in?: Well, Real Madrid has been fantastic. The club hasn’t lost a game this season and has won its last five games by a score of 16-3. Barca on the other hand has won just two of its last six matches, including draws in their last two games. Only one loss in the last six (3-1 against Man. City on Nov. 1), but just eight goals in the last seven games. In comparison, the first seven games of the season saw Barca score 20 goals. Now, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both missed the Malaga match a couple weeks ago, but the overall lack of scoring is a concern.
Who is the pressure on?: That’s easy — it’s Barcelona. The game is at the Nou Camp, a place where Real Madrid won last year. Barca has to feel the pressure because it is in second place in La Liga, six points behind Real Madrid. If Real wins, that opens up a nine-point gap that, even though we are just a third of the way into the season, could snowball into something insurmountable.
What to watch: Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, of course. They are two of the top three best goal scorers in El Clasico’s history. Messi had 21 goals against Real Madrid, the most of any player ever in the rivalry. Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano is second with 18, while Ronaldo is third with 16. Chances are one of them, if not both, score here.
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