New Faces For El Clasico

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could dictate fortunes in El Clasico. Image courtesy of
If Gareth Bale’s intention when he joined Real Madrid earlier this season was to play in the biggest matches in Europe, then he gets his first real taste of what it’s like to play for the Spanish superpower when it heads to the Nou Camp for the first El Clasico of the campaign against Barcelona .

The same can be said for Brazilian Neymar, who so far has made far more of an impact for his new club than the injury-plagued Welshman has for Real. With Lionel Messi out with a hamstring injury earlier this season, Neymar took control against the likes of Celtic and Real Valladolid, and he has established himself in Barca’s starting XI, something Bale is yet to do.

Real currently sits three points behind their great rival. Their only defeat so far, a 1-0 loss in the derby against Atletico Madrid, could prove to be costly come season’s end. Los Blancos have sailed through the Champions League group stage with the 2-1 win over Juventus this week almost sealing first place in Group B.

Barca started the season with eight straight wins in La Liga before hitting a speedbump with a 0-0 draw with Osasuna last weekend. Their defending was quite ordinary at times against A.C. Milan in the Champions League midweek and their inability to deal with set pieces could come back to haunt them against a team with dead ball specialists.

The teams drew 2-2 at the home of the Catalan giants last season, while the season before Real came away with the spoils courtesy of a 2-1 victory.

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