Barcelona welcome Atlético de Madrid to the Camp Nou on Saturday evening in a match that will have major consequences in the 2018/19 title race.
Atleti needs a win to peg back league leaders Barcelona, who’ll be able to land a killer blow to their rivals with a win. Whatever happens, we’re in for a thriller but with these two sides so evenly matched… which players could tip the balance?
Diego Godín (Atletico de Madrid)
The Uruguayan centre-back has fond memories of the Camp Nou. It was he who scored the headed equaliser in the 1-1 draw in 2014 that clinched the title for Los Colchoneros. After a goalless 2017/18, Godín has rediscovered his scoring touch this campaign and will be a threat from set pieces, while he’ll also be very involved in defence as he commands Atlético’s dominant back line.
With the El Clasico taking place tonight (in the Copa Del Rey) and on Saturday evening, we take a look at how both clubs make the podium for the numbers of academy graduates playing in Europe’s top five leagues.
Real Madrid and Barcelona may add another chapter to world football’s greatest rivalry this weekend, but the presence of these two giants won’t only be felt in Madrid on Saturday night.
The El Clasico rivals boast two of the very best academies in European football, with the Catalan side’s La Masia and the capital city club’s La Fábrica both famous for their non-stop production lines. They’ve produced past LaLiga Santander legends such as Xavi, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Raúl and Guti, plus current stars such as Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez.
In La Liga match-day 24, pack chase leaders Barcelona in a weekend of friendly reunions and head to head battles.
Barcelona will have their eyes on a big three points against visitors R. Valladolid on Saturday night, coming into the game on the back two successive draws in LaLiga Santander.
The game at the Camp Nou will also be extra special for Ronaldo Nazario, now president of Valladolid, who won La Liga’s pichichi top scorer award during his stint at Barcelona in 1996/97.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, are going for a sixth consecutive LaLiga victory at home when they face Girona on Sunday lunchtime with key players including Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema bang in form. Santi Solari’s side moved second in the table following last weekend’s 3-1 derby victory at Atletico de Madrid, while an out-of-form Girona have fallen to just one point above the drop zone.
La Liga derbies bring the fiercest football rivalries to life in South Africa.
February 2019. – There are fierce football rivalries…and then there are derbies. Spanish football league LaLiga Santander is home to some of the most celebrated of these long-running on-pitch battles in the world – and on 31 January, select South African media got to experience all the passion, tradition and spectacle first-hand through an immersive local LaLiga Derbies event at the Mesh Club in Rosebank.
Five LaLiga derbies are taking place between February and April – to be screened locally on SuperSport 7 – and the media event encouraged attendees to explore every aspect of the high-emotion derby experience, which is as deeply entrenched in Spanish culture as its signature regional foods.
Valencia travel to Barcelona’s Camp Nou for Saturday afternoon’s huge LaLiga Santander game with a lot having changed since the teams drew 1-1 in their first meeting of 2018/19.
A super enthralling game at Mestalla back in early October saw the home side take an early lead when defender Ezequiel Garay was quickest to react at a corner kick. Midway through the first half blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi played a clever one-two with centre-forward Luis Suarez, before firing home the equaliser from the edge of the area despite being surrounded by four opposition defenders.