El Clasico: Probable lineups for Barcelona & Real MadridPublished December 2, 2016
Saturday’s El Clasico promises to be an exciting affair, showcasing some of the best players from around the world.
But although both squads are relatively deep in terms of quality, there are several injury concerns for Luis Enrique and Zinedine Zidane heading into the clash.
Here’s how we think they’ll line up.
Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The German goalkeeper is Barcelona’s undisputed first-choice between the sticks, and will start ahead of Jasper Cillessen.
Defence: Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba
When fit, much of the Blaugrana defence picks itself, however, Samuel Umtiti remains an injury doubt, meaning Javier Mascherano could be selected alongside Gerard Pique. A slight doubt also exists over Jordi Alba’s fitness, but all indications from Spain are that he should make it.
Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta
Barcelona’s midfield will probably have a fairly familiar look about it at the Camp Nou, with long-time talisman Andres Iniesta expected to shrug off fitness worries to line up alongside Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in the centre of the park. If the veteran isn’t ready, Denis Suarez could well take his place.
Attack: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar
The attacking trident of Messi, Suarez, Neymar- known as the MSN for short- are almost certain starters in the absence of any fitness issues or viable replacements. They’ll be key to the outcome at the Camp Nou.
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
The Costa Rican is the man likely to be trusted with goalkeeping duties on Saturday by Zidane, with Kiko Casilla set to deputise on the bench.
Defence: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo
Expect Dani Carvajal and Marcelo to fill the full-back positions for Los Blancos tomorrow, with the one major selection dilemma whether to include young star Raphael Varane instead of Pepe at the heart of the defence.
Midfield: Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric
In the absence of Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric will be tasked with suffusing Real’s midfield creativity and dynamism. Recently-returned holding midfielder Casemiro is key to the way Zidane likes to play and will start if he can prove his fitness.
Attack: Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Injuries to Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata leave the Frenchman with a selection headache; Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are basically guaranteed to start, with Lucas Vazquez a like-for-like replacement for Bale on the wing. The Spaniard seems the most likely option, however Isco and James Rodriguez could come into contention if Zidane plumps for a 4-4-2 formation.