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Saturday sees one of the most important matches in world football when Real Madrid and Barcelona meet in Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – el clasico. Of course, we all know about the rivalry between these two sides – Barca claim to represent the region of Catalonia, while Madrid are viewed as ‘Spain’s team’. But this season’s game has added spice. The two sides are locked together at the top of La Liga on 77 points – a massive 21 points ahead of third placed Valencia – with an almost identical goal difference, meaning that if there is a winner this weekend then they will go a long way to becoming champions. In addition to this, there is the battle between two players whose fans suggest that they are the best in the world – Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Leo Messi.
Messi vs Ronaldo
Messi has been receiving the plaudits after an amazing performance against Arsenal in the Champions League this week but that was no one off. He has scored 39 goals already this season with three hat-tricks in the league and has been consistently brilliant for Barca throughout. Ronaldo’s figures seem somewhat less impressive with a league tally of 18 though they have come in only 21 matches. Of course, there are other match winners in both sides. Gonzalo Higuain, another Argentinian, has scored 24 times this season for Madrid and will be hoping to add to that tally thanks to support from Xabi Alonso and Brazilian playmaker Kaka, though it looks like he could miss the game through injury. As for Barcelona, they will be boosted by the return of Swedish striker Ibrahimovic and Spanish international Iniesta who will partner Xavi in midfield to ensure that Madrid will have to work extremely hard to gain possession of the ball.
Madrid will also want to erase last season’s humiliation from their minds – they were thrashed 2-6 at home by a rampant Barca who went on to win the title. That day the Catalan side were unplayable but will find this Madrid team in top form – they are on a 12-game winning streak and have won all 15 of their league matches at home this season; though Barcelona themselves have only lost once throughout the campaign. This promises to be a real thriller and predicting it is a hazardous job but I am going for a 2-1 away victory for Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
added spice: Extra emotion
are locked together: Nothing can separate them; on the same points
has been receiving the plaudits: Many people are praising him
one off: Something unique
will partner Xavi in midfield: Will be together with (both play in midfield)
to erase: To forget
rampant: Completely in control; dominating
a hazardous job: A dangerous job