LaLiga and world football braces itself for the first ElClasico of the season

    The first LaLiga ElClasico of the 2020/21 season sees both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid come into the game after suffering surprise defeats last weekend, when the ultra-competitive nature of LaLiga Santander was again shown by deserved victories for Getafe CF and Cadiz CF.

    Defending champions Real Madrid remain just a point off the top of the early LaLiga Santander standings after losing 1-0 at home to newly promoted Cadiz last Saturday, while Barça’s defeat by the same scoreline at a typically rugged Getafe leaves the Catalans a further three points back, down in an unfamiliar ninth position.

    Another factor to consider is the staggered start to the 2020/21 campaign meaning that Los Blancos still have one game in hand on current joint leaders Real Sociedad and Villarreal, while Barcelona have played two games fewer at this point.

    Zinedine Zidane’s side also picked up some new injury worries on Saturday, with club captain Sergio Ramos leaving the game at half-time with a knee injury which makes him a doubt for this weekend’s game at the Camp Nou. Zidane is already without Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal for the first ElClasico of the new campaign, but has better fitness news with Eder Militao and Marco Asensio back available again after recent absences.

    New Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman also has his selection issues ahead of the game, including left-back Jordi Alba being in a ‘race against the clock’ to be ready for Saturday. Either way new blaugrana full-back Sergiño Dest looks set to become the first ever USA international to play in ElClasico, having settled very well since arriving from Ajax late in the transfer window. Sure to feature is Barça club captain Lionel Messi, whose 18 goals in 27 LaLiga ElClasicos is an all-time record.

    Koeman will be looking forward to his first ElClasico as a manager, having picked up five wins and scored five goals in his 11 LaLiga meetings with Real Madrid during his time as a Barça player. The Dutchman scored a double as the Catalans won his first 3-1 at the Camp Nou in October 1989, and also found the net in the historic 5-0 for Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ in January 1994, although he was on the other end of the same ‘manita’ scoreline the following season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    As a coach Koeman has faced the reigning champions just once: a 3-2 victory at the Bernabeu when in charge of Valencia in March 2008, a game in which Ramos and Marcelo both featured for Los Blancos. Zidane had retired as a player by then but has his own enviable record in ElClasico since becoming a coach. The Frenchman has lost just two of nine meetings with Barça across his two spells, and his two wins and three draws from five visits to the Camp Nou is the best record of any Real Madrid coach in history in this fixture.

    Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory in the most recent LaLiga ElClasico, thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz, means the Bernabeu outfit have moved just ahead in the all-time head to head record – 73 wins to 72. There have also been 35 draws – the latest of which was a tightly fought 0-0 at the Camp Nou last December. That game was an outlier given the fixture has regularly produced goals in recent seasons, as well as lots of drama, including Barça’s 5-1 home victory in October 2018.

    Saturday will see a potential 650 million fans around the world tuning for the eagerly awaited match-up. The staggered start to 2020/21 has made it difficult to judge the teams so far, but a winner on Saturday would immediately become favourite to win this year’s LaLiga Santander title, while a loser would already have a lot of ground to make up.

    Watch ElClasico live this Saturday on BEINSPORTS (SG/MY) at 10.30pm

    Related articles

    LaLiga rebrands with new logo

    LaLiga, the top professional football league in Spain, has unveiled a new logo and brand identity. The new logo is a bold and modern design that reflects the passion, excitement, and global reach of...

    Women’s World Cup 2023 lineup complete

    The line-up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is now complete with Haiti, Portugal, and Panama booking their spots at this year’s tournament in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand following success at the...

    adidas launches the L10NEL M35SI Pack which celebrates 35 years of greatness

    On 21 February, adidas unveiled the L10NEL M35SI Pack, celebrating Lionel Messi’s legacy in football. At 35 years old and fresh off having won his first World Cup, El Diez (Number 10) continues to make history,...

    Under-20 World Cup Indonesia Update

    Born as a 16-team tournament in 1977, the biennial FIFA U-20 World Cup brings together some of the most talented youngsters the world of football has to offer, as they compete to be crowned...

    Thank you for 10 million views for Futbolita on TikTok!

    We're delighted to have amassed 10 million views over the last two months on TikTok alone from our coverage of the FIFA World Cup and AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup. Thank you for your support,...

    Latest articles