After his 4 month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini, and all the drama that followed, its not surprising that the Uruguayan star could possibly make his first competitive appearance for Barcelona in probably the biggest club game in the world. This Saturday evening, it will be Madrid hosting their eternal rivals in one of the most anticipated El Classico’s for a long time.
After a summer of huge spending for both teams, both contenders are now brimming with a devastating attack. Following a disappointing season by their high standards, the Catalans last season lost both La Liga and the Champions League to Madrid (Atletico and Real respectively). So it was inevitable some huge transfers would be bought in. Barcelona had finally landed Luis Suarez from Liverpool for a reported £65m deal. The talented Ivan Rakitić was also drafted in after an impressive season for Seville. Among the several other deals, Arsenal defender Thomas Vermealen was signed to provided some defensive cover.
The Los Blancos meanwhile had gone on another hectic summer spending spree, in order to reinforce their grip on the Champions League that they spent so long craving. Following some wonderful displays at this summers World Cup for Colombia. James Rodriguez had finally arrived on the big stage. Real Madrid did not wait around to capture his services, and signed the playmaker for a fee of £63m. Toni Kroos, was long hinting a move away from Munich last season, and after his World Cup victory, It was announced that the powerful midfielder had moved to the Spanish capital for £24m. Javier Hernandez and Costa Rican keeper Kaylor Navas had also been transferred in.
On paper, the attacks on both sides had fans across the world excited. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez right now is probably the most brutal front 3 on the planet. Whereas Madrid now have Rodriguez to join Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and the current player of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo. The inevitable showdown between the sides would surely bring fireworks.
So far domestically, it has been Barcelona who have hit the ground running. They are currently top of the league, having not lost a game. The team has looked so impressive, that they have not conceded a single goal in 8 league games, and in turn, scoring 22. Their only blot so far being a 0-0 draw away to Malaga. The South American duo of Neymar and Messi have started in blistering fashion, the Brazilian just beating the Argentinian with his 10 goals to Messi’s 9. With the defence in formidable form, and the imminent return of Luis Suarez, things look very bright for Barcelona.
Real Madrid on the other hand, stuttered in their opening few matches. After an opening day win, they followed it with back to back defeats. Losing to current title holders Atletico at home, and an astonishing match against Sociedad. where they had an early 2-0 lead wiped out, and lost 4-2. Since then though, the team has appeared to have gelled, and have won the next 5 matches. In those 5 games, the team has scored an amazing 25 goals, Ronaldo is way out in front, already on 19 goals for the season. They may be firing on all cylinders at the moment, but their defence is still a concern, having already conceded 9 times, and the form of Iker Cassilas still in doubt.
With 4 points between the leaders, and Real in 3rd (Seville in 2nd after a very impressive start for the team!). Barcelona will still be top of the pile, regardless of the result on Saturday, but they will want to keep hold of their unbeaten start, and even better, keep another clean sheet to go with their previous 8. But Real Madrid have simply been on fire recently, with Ronaldo on another level at the moment. It shall be another memorable chapter of the El Claisso saga this weekend!