Barcelona vs Real Madrid

It’s that time of the year again. Barcelona and Real Madrid clash on Saturday in the first Clasico of 2020/21 at Camp Nou as the current generation seeks new narratives to this rivalry.

The eternal rivals go into El Clasico following shock 1-0 League defeats to both Getafe and Cádiz amidst mixed starts to the season. One of the biggest games in club football, however, is perhaps the perfect tonic to liven up following chaotic scenes in Nigeria after the disturbing killing of unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters by soldiers.

Football has lent its far-reaching voice to the tragedy and it is hoped El Clasico brings some form of joy to the hearts of many football-loving Nigerians.

Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid were victorious in the last Clasico in March, just before the Covid-19 outbreak swung the title momentum in their favour.

Betway Nigeria
Real Madrid
Real Madrid are looking to retain the title ahead of their rivals in transition. (Reuters)

Vinicíus Júnior was vital in March, as he registered five successful tackles and scored the all-important opening goal to take them one ahead in La Liga’s Clasico head-to-head with 73 wins. The young Brazilian has started 2020/21 impressively, too, as his fastest goal by a substitute in UCL history (14 Seconds) sparked a fruitless fightback in the 3-2 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League

He has already netted three times in five games this season with Karim Benzema yet to really hit the ground running and Eden Hazard struggling for fitness.

Although the 20-year-old still needs to improve his decision-making and composure, his regular moments of magic are tailor-made for one of the most intense fixtures in European football.

Barcelona have three wins, a draw and a defeat in 2020/21. (Reuters)

In Barcelona, Ronald Koeman has steadied the ship somewhat in his five games so far. Although it will take long to heal from the wounds of Lisbon at the hands of Bayern Munich, the Dutch legend is already shaping the foundations.

Portuguese youngster, Francisco Trincão, has been the most exciting of Barcelona’s summer signings and was impressive in his first start in the Champions League. He might keep Antoine Griezmann out once more on the right, as the Frenchman is yet to settle into a role in the Blaugrana attack.

Koeman’s new tactical philosophy sets the team in a 4-2-3-1 that is atypical for a Barcelona side, but one which offers defensive balance and gives them license to interchange in attack. Hence, Philippe Coutinho is more confident, Ansu Fati remains one of Europe’s brightest youngsters with his brilliant performances this season, while Ousmane Dembélé looks to build fitness, once again.

Lionel Messi
Madrid’s Tormentor-in-chief is still at Barcelona. (Reuters)

Amongst their band of youngsters and hungry misfits, Los Merengues still have all-time El Clasico record goalscorer, Lionel Messi with 18 goals in 27 League games, within their ranks. The Clasico atmosphere might be crucially mood-boosting for the six-time World Player of The Year in his final year with Los Cules, as they take on Ronaldo’s Juventus four days later.

Evidently, both rivals are still building momentum in the new season and a Clasico win would kick-start either’s campaign. 

Pragmatism and solidity were the hallmarks of Madrid’s 34th title win last season, they tantalisingly matchup with largely inexperienced youngsters and players finding their feet in the Barcelona team. 

It’s all there for the taking.

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
October 23, 2020
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Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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