The destination of the 2014/2015 La Liga title will become a little clearer on Sunday as Barcelona and Real Madrid meet in the second El Clasico of the season.
While Real won the first one 3-1 in October, Barcelona will have the wind in their sails coming in the clash having displaced their great rivals at the top of the table in recent weeks.
The game will see two of the modern football’s all-time greats, Ronaldo and Messi, meet once again however in a reversal of fortunes the current Ballon D’or holder is a man under pressure. When the two sides met earlier in the season Messi lack of form and the future of Luis Enrique appeared entwined.
Fast forward 5 months and Messi is the man on fire while his great rival is struggling amid rumours of a rant at fans not to mention a very poor reaction to Gareth Bale scoring a first goal in 11 games.
Bale’s double in the win over Levante last weekend will have done wonders for his confidence however much of the focus this weekend will be how the Real defence can cope with the form of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
The attack minded Marcelo is going to be stifled by the right drifting Suarez while Neymar’s tendency to move out left means that Daniel Carvajal will also be limited as an attacking force. That leaves Pepe and Sergio Ramos as the men to stop Messi.
Spanish star Ramos is expected to start this weekend ahead of youngster Rafael Varane. The defender has missed the last 6 weeks with a hamstring injury but kept a clean sheet on his return last weekend.
Real’s only absentee will be James Rodriquez while Sergio Busquets will be missing, along with Thomas Vermaelen, for Barcelona.
As you would expect there is very little separating these two with Real holding a slight historical advantage having won 71 games to Barcelona’s 66 league wins.