Date: Sunday, March 23 Venue: Santiago Bernabeu Kick-Off: 20:00 La Liga leaders Real Madrid can move seven points clear of old rivals Barcelona with a win in tonight's 'El Clasico' at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid will welcome Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria back into the fold after the duo were rested during the midweek Champions League win over Schalke. However, young forward Jesse has been sidelined for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Barcelona warmed up for their crunch clash with Madrid by thrashing Osasuna 7-0. Neymar and Cesc Fabregas sat out that game but could be recalled by manager Gerardo Martino. (CaughtOffside)
This is the 168th 'Clasico' between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Madrid have only won two of their last 11 league meetings with Barcelona (D2 L7), and both came by the odd goal. However, Los Blancos can move seven points clear of third-placed Barca with a win. Lionel Messi is the top scorer in league Clasicos amongst current players (11). (eurosport)
Real Madrid Lopez, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric, Xabi, Di Maria, Bale, Morata, Ronaldo. Barcelona Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, Messi, Sanchez.
La Liga leaders Real Madrid could land a hammer blow on title rivals Barcelona when the two Spanish heavyweights clash in the 168th El Clasico tonight. Madrid currently top the table and could stretch their lead over the reigning champions by seven points, who are vying for a fifth championship in six years. However, Barca have been erratic this term, and surprise slumps to Real Valladolid and Real Sociedad have seen them slip into third, behind Real and their domestic rivals Atletico. Madrid meanwhile are in much better shape, and have put together an unbeaten sequence of 31 matches in all competitions since the 2-1 reverse at Barca in the league last October. The stage then is set for yet another typically-fiery affair in this fixture with the result having huge ramifications for either side. At the centre of the battle will be Real's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barca's Lionel Messi, who can overtake legendary Alfredo Di Stefano as top scorer in Clasicos if he can muster a 19th goal here. Ronaldo too is in top form, and has plundered 12 goals against Barca since joining Real in 2009. The ex-Manchester United hero will be hoping to prove a thorn in Barca's side again. Neither side will want to lose and a draw might suit both. I'm going for a tight 1-1.
Joseph is an accredited football journalist and has interviewed nearly all of the current 20 Barclay's Premier League managers. He is also a correspondent for Bleacher Report and has written for Caught Offside and Give Me Football.