While he may be the top scorer in the history of this most famous of fixtures with 21 goals, Lionel Messi has not scored a goal a Clasico since 2014.
Sunday would be a great time for the Argentine to break that relatively barren run and Messi comes into the game as La Liga's top scorer with 29 goals this term. Barca will need their talisman to be at his very best given the absence of Neymar through suspension, and the Brazilian's likely replacement in Paco Alcacer.
Depending on how coach Luis Enrique choses to set his team up, Alcacer could start up front alongside Luis Suarez, with Messi in a deeper, floating role and perhaps it could be Messi's vision rather than his goalscoring ability which proves the key for Barca.
For Real Madrid meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo leads the betting at 8/13 (1.62) with the Portuguese forward fresh from scoring his 41st hattrick for Los Blancos in midweek and looking to add to his tally of 16 Clasico goals.
Just behind him is Alvaro Morata at evens (2.00) although the Spaniard is not likely to start the game. Instead, it will be Karim Benzema who leads the line and the Frenchman, who has scored five goals in his last five league Clasicos at the Bernabeu, is offered at a healthy looking 13/10 (2.30).
Looking back at the recent goalscorers in this fixture, it is clear to see a pattern of defenders finding the back of the net. In fact, in five of the last six Clasicos a defender has scored, with Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu, Pepe and Marc Barta all netting over the last three years.
While the latter two have no chance of featuring on Sunday, the former two will both pose a serious threat from set pieces, and Ramos in particular has been in impressive scoring form. The Real Madrid captain boasts 10 strikes to his name this season and he is offered at 9/2 (5.50) to do so once more, a tempting price given that Real Madrid are the side with the most number of goals from set-pieces in La Liga this term.
|Karim Benzema to score at anytime at 13/10 (2.30) for a 1.5pt stake with Paddy Power|