The match we have all been waiting for since this season’s fixtures were announced in the summer is nearly upon us with Barcelona hosting La Liga rivals Real Madrid at the Nou Camp on Saturday.
Barcelona’s holy trinity of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will come up against Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric as they meet in what is expected to be yet another classic.
Both sets of players put the final touches on preparations for this weekend’s El Clasico in Barcelona with Zinedine Zidane and Luis Enrique making sure their array of stars are ready and raring to go, if they needed any added encouragement.
Enrique has been boosted with news of Andres Iniesta’s return from a long-term knee injury.
The Barcelona head coach said of his captain, who last played in October, and his side’s form: ‘Andres is waiting to be given the all clear by the doctors but this is just a formality. He is fit and he has been training with us. He is available for selection.
‘It’s obvious that we need to improve, that we need more consistent but I don’t see any signs to worry me too much.
‘The team is well and we got a point at La Real. We are still favourites to win all the titles but it’s clear that we have to improve.’
The pressure is on Barcelona to get a result with the Catalan giants going into the game six points behind Real Madrid.
Real Madrid will be disappointed to be without their Welsh wizard Gareth Bale, who will sidelined for up to four months, but spirits remained high at their training ground despite the injury blow.
Ronaldo was once again playing the role of joker as he was seen jokingly slapping Brazilian midfielder Casemiro on the back of his head.
Across Spain, Barcelona’s training session looked more serious with Enrique’s side hoping to bounce back from two consecutive draws.
Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad in their last La Liga encounter and failed to defeat Hercules in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, strolled to a 6-1 win over Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa with Enzo Zidane scoring on his senior debut under the tutelage of his dad.
Both teams made several changes to their starting line-ups for their respective cup clashes as they had Saturday’s match in their mind.