Barcelona´s scarves are displayed outside the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 23, 2020, on the eve of the

In common circumstances, the primary El Clasico of the season has often meant two of La Liga’s largest golf equipment preventing it out for an opportunity to take an early initiative over the opposite. These will not be common circumstances.

In a European soccer calendar altered by the coronavirus pandemic, Real Madrid and Barcelona head into their first assembly of the marketing campaign trying to break a loop of negativity in current occasions. Both golf equipment are struggling; the pre-game narrative has been principally concerning the gloom surrounding the 2 establishments on this early section of the season.

When Real Madrid’s robust end to the final marketing campaign noticed them regain La Liga title, it appeared to have belied the criticism the group had confronted earlier that season. But right here we’re within the new marketing campaign, and the membership has misplaced back-to-back video games at residence, to newly-promoted Cadiz within the league and a coronavirus-hit, under-strength Shakhtar Donetsk aspect within the Champions League.

That Real Madrid have didn’t adequately substitute Cristiano Ronaldo since his departure in 2018 is hardly shocking as a result of not many would be capable of replicate the Portuguese star’s goal-scoring feats. But what ought to fear the Madrid devoted is the group’s continued reliance on an ageing core group of gamers – Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, amongst others. The membership’s struggles with out Ramos in opposition to Shakhtar was one other illustration of how essential the 34-year-old centre-back is to his aspect.

“I am responsible,” mentioned Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after Wednesday’s shock loss. “I am the coach. I have to find the solution.”

Pressure will pile on the French nice if Barcelona hand Real a 3rd consecutive defeat on Saturday’s early kick-off. Real have proven little mercy in sacking adorned coaches up to now, though there may be prone to be a bit extra persistence from the Santiago Bernabeu hierarchy for a membership legend who has received three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles in two teaching stints in Madrid.

Given the state of affairs with their bitter rivals, Barcelona would have began this recreation as favourites. But the Catalonians have issues of their very own. Despite beating Hungarian champions Ferencvaros on Tuesday, Barcelona have been a pale shadow themselves in current months.

Last season’s collapse after the resumption, the place they surrendered the league title to Madrid and have been humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich within the Champions League quarter-finals, was adopted by a public confrontation between the membership’s board and its largest star in Lionel Messi.

The Argentine talisman reluctantly stayed again after declaring his intention to depart in August. But the state of affairs hasn’t fairly lifted the temper at Camp Nou. In their final two league video games, Barca misplaced at Getafe and drew at residence to Sevilla.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has already been a goal of followers over his dealing with of the membership. The mess surrounding Messi, who has lower than a 12 months left in his contract with the membership, has solely been compounded by Barcelona’s subdued switch exercise this summer time. The lack of ability to land a substitute after letting a striker of Luis Suarez’s high quality go hasn’t gone down effectively with the followers as effectively.

Gerard Pique underlined the tense state of affairs on the membership forward of Saturday’s recreation by having a go on the membership hierarchy over its dealing with of the Messi affair. “I ask myself: how can it be that the best-ever player to have played the game, who we have been lucky enough to enjoy, wakes up one day and sends a burofax (recorded delivery mail) because he feels like he’s not being listened to?” Pique, grandson of former membership vice-president Amador Bernabeu, advised La Vanguardia newspaper.

“What’s going on? Messi deserves everything; the new stadium should be named after him first and then the sponsor. We should preserve our figureheads, not under-appreciate them. It really gets to me.”


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