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Primera División

  • November 29, 2010
  • • 20:00
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez
  • • Attendance: 98255

La Liga Preview: Barcelona – Real Madrid

La Liga Preview: Barcelona – Real Madrid

It’s the match everyone’s been waiting for: Barca finally meet Jose Mourinho’s Blancos...

Burning Desire

Even in the great history of El Clasico, this is a match anticipated like no other. Barcelona, still considered by many to be the greatest club side on the planet, pit themselves against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, expensively assembled and the pretenders to Barca’s throne both domestically and in the eyes of the planet-wide public.

La Blaugrana have tried to step out of the whirlwind of publicity before Monday evening’s match, the timing of which has caused a great deal of controversy. Coach Pep Guardiola will certainly be happy with the talking his players have done on the field, with last weekend’s quite remarkable 8-0 victory over hapless Almeria a warning shot to their Castilian rivals.

Not taking their eye from the ball for a second, Barca produced a performance of almost equal power when they defeated Panathinaikos 3-0 in Athens on Champions League duty on Wednesday evening, serenely booking themselves a place in the last 16 with an utterly dominant display.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s match, Xavi explained to the media: “In this game Barcelona are favourites. We play at home, we are in very good shape and we have a burning desire to win.”

These sentiments were echoed by Dani Alves, who stated: “Monday will be a tough match, a very intense match, so hopefully we can keep up our form because our opponent is motivated, but we know our own level and we will strive to meet our objective.”

Defeat would leave Barcelona trailing their great rivals by four points and heavily second favourites in the race for the Primera Division.

Great Potential

Barcelona may have been performing almost flawlessly of late, but so too have Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid. Fears that a flair-packed side could be reduced to a ruthlessly efficient unit have proven to be unfounded as los Blancos have out-scored every Primera Division side this term aside from Barca, whose 33 goals they are the equal of.

Just as one would expect from a side marshalled by the great Portuguese coach, they have proven to be immensely mentally resilient, holding out defensively when required but also showing an appetite to gamble and really make things happen on the rare occasions they have been in tricky positions. A Pedro Leon equaliser deep in stoppage time saved them from defeat in Milan and as yet Mourinho, who was once on the staff of Bobby Robson's Barca, is unbeaten in the Bernabeu hot-seat.

Mirroring their great Catalan adversaries, los Blancos have attained two terrific results over the course of the last week. A potential banana skin in the form of Athletic Bilbao was smashed clear with a very proficient 5-1 win at the Bernabeu, and then Ajax were hammered 4-0 in a match that will be best remembered for the controversial red cards of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos.

Alonso, under scrutiny from UEFA because of the manner of his dismissal in the Netherlands, is nevertheless confident that his side have the tools to best Barca. “This team has great potential in attack, with great scoring ability. If we play well, and are strong in attack and defence, that is the recipe to win at the Camp Nou,” he explained to the media.

“This Barcelona team are very good, and are still very good. In recent years they have won many titles, and we will fight hard to beat us because it will be crucial. The two matches, both at the Camp Nou and the return will be very important.”

Mourinho’s presence will add extra spice to the affair as it was his tactical masterplan as Inter coach last season that thwarted Barcelona’s attempts to reclaim the Champions League. Relations between the Portuguese and Guardiola are frosty, so expect fireworks on and off the field.



Gabriel Milito is the only first team regular missing for Barca approaching Monday's big clash.

Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho has a few more concerns approaching the match, but Ricardo Carvalho, Sami Khedira and Gonzalo Higuain have all overcome problems to be named in the squad.

Kaka and Fernando Gago miss out because of injury. is proud to be a premier partner of and as such is pleased to offer exclusive invitations to our users to become a participant in the Alpha launch of the new Click here for your access code for the alpha site - act now as invitations are limited!

Players to watch

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 6

  • 5
  • 1
  • 0
In big matches, Barcelona will always look for Lionel Messi to shine. The list of superlatives used to describe the diminutive Argentine is simply endless, and given his recent form is it right that he is considered to be one of the top two players in the world. Was immense in the 8-0 destruction of Almeria last weekend, scoring three and laying on two, plus he also registered against Panathinaikos in midweek. Indeed, Messi has scored in his last nine matches for club and country.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Attacker

Games: 5

  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
Just as Messi is Barcelona’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo is Real Madrid’s. ‘CR7’ has been close to unstoppable for los Blancos this term and has matched his great rival goal for goal. Just as Messi scored a hat-trick last weekend, so did Ronaldo, who has been in wholly remarkable form since the beginning of October. The 25-year-old surely has a massive role to play in proceedings on Monday.

Editor's Prediction

Jose Mourinho hasn’t suffered defeat as Real Madrid coach as yet, but Monday’s match is his greatest test to date. Both Barcelona and los Blancos are in magnificent form. It’s the Catalans who have been more impressive in recent weeks, but it’s Madrid who have been stronger overall. Opinions will vary widely, but Barca should be considered favourites to snatch the most anticipated match of the season to date.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Real Madrid


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol RMA
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol Real Madrid

Top 3 Predictions

FC Barcelona FCB
3 - 1
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol RMA
FC Barcelona FCB
1 - 3
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol RMA
FC Barcelona FCB
1 - 2
Real Madrid Club de Fútbol RMA