El Clasico 2015 preview
When Lionel Messi collapsed with a knee injury against Las Palmas last September, the question buzzed whether he’d be fit enough to face Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season.
Two months later, though, the mood is surprisingly different. In the Argentinian’s absence, Luis Suarez and Neymar have been incredible. Barcelona have been defeated just once and ironically, it’s instead Madrid who’ve faltered. In a way that was not quite anticipated, Barcelona sit at the top the league table—and that too by three points.
In spite of results on paper suggesting otherwise, there are doubts now that have been fabricating about the nature of Rafa Benitez’s side prior to the international break, and unfortunately enough, those doubts were given validity by the lack of motivation shown by Madrid as they collapsed importantly against Sevilla.
“Tonight’s game,” it was recorded in a post match review, “was an X-ray which showed us what Real Madrid have on the inside—little, or less than we previously thought.”
Although, for Real Madrid, the silver lining is that Bale and Ronaldo have not been away representing their national sides and nor has Sergio Ramos, who happens to have a rather painful shoulder injury. He uses painkillers before games and although that limits him a bit, he will play.
Admittedly, few of the criticism that has pursued following that performance has been rather exaggerating, but there’s an undeniable feeling of tension at Madrid, and the pressure that would be placed upon Benitez if his side somehow doesn’t deliver in El Clasico 2015 on Saturday would be enormous.
Positively for the hosts, Benitez has his full squad to opt from for the first time since late August, his prime stars all available for selection. In the striking end, that implies the lethal pack of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema could all star in the same game for the second time in the current season.
Barring some kind of serious injury massacre for Barcelona that affects them harder than losing Messi for two months did previously, this match could well be a season-defining one in case of Madrid if they lose.
Buckle up for El Clasico 2015!