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El Clasico: Can Zidane Stop Barca?

On Saturday night in Catalunya, 2 of the most decorated and star-studded football teams will face-off at the Camp Nou, with Zidane hoping to inspire his Madrid side and upset the Barcelona juggernaut. This Barcelona side could be one of the most destructive units of all-time, that it is now a matter of who can stop them? If any, Real Madrid! The Madridistas will be baying for blood having been humiliated by a 4-0 thrashing at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this season.

THE MSN vs BBC FACTOR: 69 vs 63 Goals

The triumvirate of Messi, Suarez & Neymar dubbed MSN have the edge over Bale, Benzema and Cristiano in encounters as big as this, with the Real Madrid trio having lost all 3 matches they’ve been on the pitch versus this Barcelona side. While the Barca frontmen have together accounted for 69 goals in La Liga, Madrid’s counterparts have notched up a 63, most of which coming against bottom half opposition.

With Suarez scoring a fine brace in their previous meeting, he once again remains the biggest threat – able to drive some lethal counter attacks when the chips are down.

Gareth Bale on the other hand could prove gamechanger, with his electric pace set to push the likes of Pique & Co. hard.

MESSI vs RONALDO: 15 GOALS APIECE

Meanwhile, Messi will be once again the most dangerous man on the pitch, capable of conjuring something out of thin air. However, in 23 matches the Argentinean has faced a Ronaldo packed Madrid side – the duo have scored 15 goals apiece, meaning nothing separates these 2 modern greats of the game.

MIDFIELD BATTLE KEY AT CAMP NOU

For Barcelona, the midfield of Iniesta and Rakitic navigating and orchestrating attacks, with Busquets protecting the back line has worked almost perfectly every single time. Madrid on the other hand have some problems from time to time, with German engine Toni Kroos falling short forcing Modric to do all the work.

 ZIZOU’S CHANCE TO REDEEM REAL PRIDE

He knew exactly what it took to win an El Clasico with his boots on, but this is Zinedine Zidane’s managerial test by fire. Zidane will know a win at the Camp Now for Madrid for the first time in the league since 2012 will go a long way in restoring some pride – with the title all but lost. It is his biggest test yet at the hardest job in the world, but his magic from his playing days seems to have galvanized this Madrid outfit.

“Under Zizou everyone is much happier. He represents an example for us,” said Sergio Ramos who will be the key figure at the heart of Madrid’s defense.

While Luis Enrique has a far easier job, it all boils down to tactics and goal-scoring heroics – with Zizou looking to redeem himself as a worthy manager of Real Madrid. This is one battle you will not want to miss.

 

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