Real Madrid vs Barcelona preview

 

The El Classico is one of the biggest events in world Football. The last time the teams met was in the Supercopa De Espana, when Real Madrid came out on top in a thrilling game which finished 3-2. Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be eager to repeat their victory this time.

Real Madrid is in the driving seat as they look to retain their league title. The Madrid-based giants won the league by an astonishing 13 points last season –  their 35th in total. Barcelona, their greatest rivals, will be looking to close the gap between the two.

For this reason, Real Madrid is a favorite among the bookmakers for this game. This is reflected by online bookmakers too. Ancelotti has not only turned the fortunes of this team around, but he has also taken them to the very pinnacle of world football yet again.

Not only has he led them to a La Liga triumph, but they also lifted the most coveted prize in world football: the UEFA Champions League. A single goal by Vinicius Jr against Liverpool FC ensured the most decorated club in European football added another star to the 13 they already have.

Barcelona is most certainly in a transition period. The legendary Pep Guardiola years seem a distant thing of the past as the club struggles to maintain their legendary status among Europe’s very elite. They are a far cry from the scintillating teams that won the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and 2011.

Their current manager Xavi was part of that illustrious crop of talent, which also included the formidable Lionel Messi, David Villa and Andres Iniesta, to name but a few.

Barcelona has strengthened their team this summer, and they have also said goodbye to players that didn’t fit into Xavi’s plans. The most notable signing this summer was that of Polish talisman Robert Lewandowski, who has gotten off to a sensational start.

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This isn’t a surprise, as Lewandowski remains one of the best players on the planet and one of the greatest of his generation. He is a precociously gifted striker built of the same stuff that Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta were all those years ago.

However, despite Lionel Messi cementing his legacy as arguably the greatest player in the history of the game while at Barcelona, he has now moved onto new pastures and his farewell to Barcelona has signaled the end of a dominant era for the Catalonian club.

Any team in the world would struggle to fill a Lionel Messi shaped hole. He is one of the most magical players of all time, who could change the game on his own at the blink of an eye. This is what Barcelona is lacking at the minute, but Real Madrid doesn’t necessarily have this either.

They were just the tip of the iceberg. That team was regarded by many as the greatest of this century. It was packed with some of the best players in the world in each position. Not only did they have strength going forwards, but they also had some of the best defenders in the world, such as Dani Alves, who still plies his trade in Mexico.

The deciding factor of that team compared to this current Barcelona crop is that Lewandowski seems to be in a league of his own. That’s not to say the current squad isn’t gifted as there’s some incredible talent there, including Sergio Busquets, Ousmane Dembele and the newly signed Raphina.

It has certainly put the wind in the sails of this current Barcelona team, and they’ll want to make a statement to show that they’re closing the gap on Ancelotti’s sensational Real Madrid squad. Both teams have started very well, and this game could be a title decider come June 2023.

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That being said, Real Madrid is in the ascendency; they are the bookmakers’ favorite and are playing in front of their home crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu. It would not be easy to see how they lose to this Barcelona team, which is still in the process of finding their feet.

The current Real Madrid team is one to rival the great Real Madrid squads of days gone by. French striker Karim Benzema has had a star-studded career and has cemented his name into the history books of Real Madrid. The same applies to Croatian midfield wizard Luka Modric.

They also have strength as well as depth, and a seemingly potent combination of experience and youth. Vinicius Jr, who bagged the only goal in last year’s Champions League final vs Liverpool, is still only 22 years of age.

However, he plays with the experience and quality of some of the more well-established players in the Madrid setup. Of course, they also have the legendary Italian Carlo Ancelotti at the helm. Having already managed Madrid earlier this century, Ancelotti returned with a point to prove.

Following last year’s Champions League victory, he became the only manager in the history of world football to lift the trophy on an astonishing four different occasions. He is a manager who is world-renowned as a coach who can get the very best out of the world’s very best players.

In addition to this, he is an astute tactician who rises to the occasion. This game isn’t a Champions League final, but as we mentioned earlier in the piece, it could very well be a title decider based on whoever comes out on top.

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Despite not being a Cup Final, it isn’t far off. It is one of the most watched club football games on the planet and it has been contested an astonishing 249 times. This will be the 250th meeting between Spanish football’s two biggest clubs.

It looks as though home advantage could play a pivotal role in this fixture. Real Madrid will have over 70,000 fans cheering them on and they’re enjoying an extremely solid start to the season, with a 100% record after six games

Throw into the mix the team’s experience, the depth and the quality, and the commander-in-chief Carlo Ancelotti overseeing proceedings, and we definitely expect Madrid to take the win in the 250th El Classico.

If Barcelona were to spring an upset, it certainly wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in football history. With Robert Lewandowski leading the line, though, anything could happen. He finished second in last year’s Ballon D’Or behind Lionel Messi and only needs one chance to score to turn the game on its head.

He has proven this on multiple occasions. He is no stranger to scoring against Real Madrid for some of the biggest European clubs. He has found the net six times in the eight appearances he has had against the 14-time Champion League winners. Could he score again in this game?

He is enjoying a blistering run of form, and despite plying his trade in Spain for the first time in his career, he looks as though he is well-suited to the pace, technique and tenacity of Spain’s top flight.

However, we do feel that Xavi’s men won’t have enough to fight the fire that Ancelotti will bring to the table, and we predict a 2-1 victory to Madrid.

Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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