The very essence of football lies in the thrill of the game. It is played more with heart than with the feet. It is the most popular game simply because it brings together millions at a time who otherwise have nothing in common. The game not only interests thousands but also inspires millions.
Two of the most iconic figures of inspiration of modern day football is Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The two players have been at crossroads for a decade now and after a prolonged battle that world football has cherished neither are willing to yield an inch. Their personal rivalry is only amplified by the fact that these men represent clubs who have a very long history of their own. Real Madrid and Barcelona have been the two zeniths of Spanish football for a century now and their matches, termed as ‘El Classico’, has been the highlight of many a season of European football.
The two superpowers face off yet again this weekend with their warriors ready to leave everything out on the pitch for their club colours. As we prepare for our Christmas weekend of joy and festivity, nothing could have given us a better kick off to our weekend than watching the ninety minutes of passionate world-class football between two sides of supreme quality.
The biggest news of the evening is Cristiano Ronaldo passing the fitness test and the Portuguese attacker has now been cleared to play for the high-tempo clash. With Casemiro and Sergio Ramos returning from suspension, Zidane will have an almost full squad to choose from.
Barcelona will be without their record signing Ousmane Dembele and centre-back Samuel Umtiti yet again. Gerard Deulofeu also remains absent for the Catalonian side.
Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Isco, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Paulinho, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi
Real Madrid will once again be banking upon the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver on the big occasion. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has developed a habit of turning up when it matters the most and what better an occasion than the El Classico to score a crucial goal.
Lionel Messi has been imperious once again this season and will be hoping to carry his form into the biggest match of the season so far. Given the genius of the little Argentine, if he is not allowed to get into his stride, Real Madrid could be in for a very long night.