Ronaldo & Messi lead the line in the Real Madrid-Barcelona combined XI

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Alba or Marcelo? Busquets or Casemiro? And is there any place for Bale? Find out who makes the Clasico's best combined starting line-up

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    Marc Andre ter Stegen

    There is little argument possible on the Clasico's best shot-stopper. Ter Stegen has undergone an astonishing transformation over the last 12 months, stepping out of Claudio Bravo's shadow to become one of the most proficient goalkeepers in world football. If the German continues in the same vein Manuel Neuer may have a fight on his hands to keep the No. 1 jersey for the World Cup.
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    Dani Carvajal

    While Barcelona have struggled to find Dani Alves' replacement at right-back, there is no doubt over who controls that flank at the Bernabeu. Carvajal is now one of the first names on the Madrid team-sheet, and his absence has been sorely felt whenever he has been unable to play.
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    Gerard Pique

    A player that only seems to get better with age. Pique may still make the headlines for his flamboyant off-pitch behaviour, but on it he is a consummate professional and the inspiration behind a Barcelona defence that has yielded just seven goals in 16 Liga outings this season. He makes the XI comfortably ahead of Raphael Varane, who is struggling to build on early promise at the Bernabeu.
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    Sergio Ramos

    One of the toughest choices to make in this combined line-up. Samuel Umtiti has taken to life at Barca like a duck to water, forming a formidable partnership with Pique. But it is instead the centre-back's Spain partner who makes the cut, a recognition of his standing as Madrid captain and ability both in defence and as a set-piece weapon.
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    Marcelo

    Another extremely competitive position. Jordi Alba's partnership with Lionel Messi has been a joy to watch this season, and the former Valencia man is up there with the best in his position. Unfortunately for him, however, Marcelo is the best left-back around, without question, a cornerstone of Madrid's three Champions League victories in the last four years.
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    Luka Modric

    In the battle of two Croatian midfield generals, Real Madrid's star beats out compatriot Ivan Rakitic for a spot in the starting XI. Modric was handed the Club World Cup Golden Ball for his efforts in taking the Merengue to the title, and his passing and vision mark him out as one of the finest players of his generation.
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    Casemiro

    The surgical scalpel, or the sledgehammer? Comparing Sergio Busquets' intricate work anchoring the Barca midfield with Casemiro's more in-your-face style is a tough task indeed, but on current form the Brazilian comes out narrowly on top - his penchant for scoring incredible long-range goals also does his chances no harm at all.
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    Andres Iniesta

    The final spot in this combined midfield trio is occupied by Iniesta, who just pips Toni Kroos to a starting place. The German's talents are without question, but Barca's veteran remains an incredible creative presence and often saves his best performances for Clasicos. Lest we forget, Iniesta has achieved a distinction shared only by Ronaldinho: a standing ovation in the normally hostile Bernabeu.
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    Lionel Messi

    La Liga's top scorer, the European Golden Shoe holder, and five-time Ballon d'Or winner: Messi's record both past and present speaks for itself. The Argentine is another automatic choice in this line-up, having started the 2017-18 campaign in blistering form while also helping his country to the World Cup.
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    Luis Suarez

    After a tough start to the season it seems like Luis Suarez is finally hitting top form. The Uruguayan striker scored twice to down Deportivo at the weekend, taking his Liga tally to nine and helping Barca go 11 points clear of their rivals. With Karim Benzema only intermittently effective and Gareth Bale ravaged by injuries, there can be little debate over who deserves the centre-forward role.
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    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Ronaldo or Messi, Messi or Ronaldo? Luckily in this team there is no need for Goal to pick: both record-breaking forwards find ample room in the starting XI. Ronaldo drew level with Messi this month as the owner of five Ballons d'Or and, while he hasn't hit his regular heights so far in 2017-18, there is plenty of evidence to suggest he is stepping up the gears in time for the second half of the season. A match-winning performance in the Clasico would be a very welcome start for Saturday's hosts.