El Clasico! Magnifico!
It’s the game that has us licking our lips. Barcelona v Real Madrid. Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo. Arguably the two best teams in the world, featuring the two best players in world (no argument there), slugging it out in front of a packed house and an estimated 400 million armchair fans around the world.
But beneath all the passion and the pride, there are vital domestic points to be won and it is every bit as important on Saturday as it has always been with Barcelona bidding to extend their La Liga lead over their fierce rivals to six points, while Los Blancos are in turn determined to come away with a famous victory from the Nou Camp to square things up at the top.
Coral go 5/6 Barcelona and 3/1 Real Madrid, but there is so little between the two sides at the moment and the draw could be the answer at 11/4.
With so many great players on either side, this fixture can’t help but deliver a football feast from time to time and occasionally a fistful of goals. Often, however, the rivalry descends into an unsavoury scrap – on the field and sometimes on the touchline – with nobody prepared to back off an inch.
Here’s hoping for one of the good games and, if Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Modric, Xavi and Di Maria aren’t enough, we also have now have Gareth Bale and Neymar to grace El Clasico.
Bale, the £85 million purchase from Spurs, has played a total of less than two and half hours football for Madrid and will be eager to make his mark on this huge stage, while the young Brazilian hero Neymar, who cost a mere £46.8 million, has fitted seamlessly into Barcelona’s fluid attacking system, operating from the left and cutting inside to often devastating effect.
Madrid have also introduced Alvaro Morata up front this year and this young star of the future (he celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday) has already made an impression in a Clasico, setting up one of the goals in Madrid’s 2-1 win at the Bernabeu in March.
Morata has the growing confidence and ability to again make a big impact in this company if given a start – Coral go 10/1 he scores first or last, 7/2 at any time.
But it is Messi and Ronaldo who most will be tuning in most enthusiastically to see. Both score at a rate of more than a goal a game – an incredible statistic – and so Coral’s 8/11 Messi and 6/5 Ronaldo to score at any time during the 90 minutes, still has appeal. They are 3/1 and 9/2 respectively to open or close the scoring for their sides.
You do look at this array of attacking talent and wonder how there won’t be a few goals in it this Saturday evening. If it’s going to be a draw, 1-1 (7/1) comes strongly into the equation, but it could quite easily be 2-2 (12/1) or even 3-3 (40/1).