El Clasico. The rivalry to end all rivalries, the match to end all matches is set to renew for the 228th time between the two Spanish giants, Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona Saturday.
Every year, whenever it rolls around, the collective soccer world stops what it’s doing in order to watch two of the most talented teams in the world go head to head.
When Real Madrid takes on Barcelona, everything else takes a backseat.
This incarnation of the storied matchup will hold special significance, as it will signal Luis Suarez’ first competitive match with his new side Barcelona following the end of his suspension due to his biting of Italy’s Georgio Chiellini during the World Cup.
With the Uruguayan on the field, should he appear in the match, the entire offensive dynamic of manager Luis Enrique’s side will change. Now, the offensive combination of Suarez and Neymar should wreak havoc on the Madrid backline, not to mention the Argentine magician, Lionel Messi, considered by many to be the best player at the world.
Other options for Enrique on the attack include Pedro and Rafinha. Behind that front three, the familiar faces of Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta will anchor the midfield, with most likely either Ivan Rakitic or Xavi looking to fill that third spot in the Blaugrana’s signature 433 formation.
Shoring up the back should be Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, and Dani Alves, a defensive core that has had plenty of time to coalesce and figure out the most efficient way to protect the net.
Speaking of which, Claudio Bravo looks primed to be the last line of defense against the powerful attack of Los Blancos.
Showing the prowess of the formation, Carlo Ancelotti will also most likely utilize a 4-3-3 variant, and with good reason: the BBC. This trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo has been torturing defenses for the last two seasons, and shows no signs of stopping now.
Even without Bale playing at Anfield this past week, Benzema and Ronaldo were each able to score in a 3-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League. While Madrid did lose longtime midfield rock Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich during this most recent transfer window, the addition of Toni Kroos from the same German side has paid dividends so far.
Kroos, alongside Luka Modric and newly signed World Cup starlet James Rodriguez, should be able to match their opposition’s midfield step for step. Finally, a Madrid defense highlighted by Sergio Ramos and longtime Spanish national captain, Iker Casillas appears to be up to the task of stopping the newly reinstated Suarez and Co.
We here at the Inscriber can theorize all we want, but the real excitement will come tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu.
For current news, sports, entertainment, politics and more please follow us at @TheInscriberMag, @InscriberSports and @TheInscriberUEFA. Like us on Facebook: The Inscriber : Digital Magazine #INSC #INSCMagazine