There’s no Lionel Messi, but there’s a lot on the line when Barcelona and Real Madrid meet in the first El Clasico of the season at the Camp Nou. This will be the first of two league meetings, though they could also see each other in other competitions.
Barcelona (8th, 15 points) can overtake Real Madrid (4th, 17 points) in the standings with a victory, but a win would be important for more than just the three points: A strong performance could win over its home crowd again, showing Blaugrana fans the players have what it takes to be contenders in La Liga after some unconvincing displays so far in the start of the post-Messi era.
The pressure will be on 18-year-old Ansu Fati, who inherited the Barcelona No. 10 shirt from Lionel Messi, and he will need to outshine a Real Madrid attack that features Ballon d’Or candidate Karim Benzema and red-hot Vincius Junior, who at 21 years old will also be keen on leaving his mark on the match.
Sporting News will follow the match live and provide score updates, commentary and highlights as they are available.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid live score
(All times Eastern)
3rd min.: Fati down in the Real Madrid box! After a Casemiro giveaway, Ansu Fati is put through in the box, but he’s nudged off the ball. No penalty call from the ref.
1st min.: Ansu Fati kicks off. El Clasico is underway.
10:14 a.m.: Tifo by the Barcelona supporters “Barca forever”:
10:04 a.m.: The atmosphere outside the Camp Nou:
9:47 a.m.: Sights and sounds from the warmups:
9:37 a.m.: Real Madrid shooting for three straight wins at the Camp Nou:
9:33 a.m.: A glimpse of the Camp Nou as it begins to fill up for El Clasico:
9:28 a.m.: A reminder just how different this El Clasico will feel. It’s been a long time without Messi or Sergio Ramos.
9:06 a.m.: Gavi is the youngest player to start El Clasico … this century.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Starting lineups
Ronald Koeman will miss two starters in center back Ronald Araujo (hamstring) and central midfielder Pedri (quad), while forward Martin Braithwaite (left knee) is out with a long-term injury. Jordi Alaba recovered from a foot sprain and got the start. Ousmane Dembele’s long-awaited return is scheduled to happen in midweek against Rayo Vallecano.
FC Barcelona starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): 1-Marc Andre ter Stegen-GK — 22-Oscar Mingueza, 3-Gerard Pique, 24-Eric Garcia, 18-Jordi Alba — 21-Frenkie de Jong, 5-Sergio Busquets, 30-Gavi — 2-Sergino Dest, 9-Memphis Depay, 10-Ansu Fati
FC Barcelona subs (12): 26-Inaki Pena-GK, 13-Neto-GK, 20-Sergi Roberto, 31-Alejandro Balde, 15-Clement Lenglet, 23-Samuel Umtiti, 6-Riqui Puig, 14-Philippe Coutinho, 28-Nico Gonzalez, 11-Yusuf Demir, 19-Sergio Aguero, 17-Luuk de Jong
Real Madrid is also missing a few players: Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos are the long-term injury absences, while Luka Jovic and Isco have been training on the side. Lucas Vasquez retains the right back spot, but the regular at the position, Dani Carvajal, is now available off the bench. Eden Hazard, who has returned to normal training, is on the bench.
Real Madrid starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 1-Thibaut Courtois-GK — 17-Lucas Vazquez, 3-Eder Militao, 4-David Alaba, 23-Ferland Mendy — 10-Luka Modric, 14-Casemiro, 8-Toni Kroos — 21-Rodrygo, 9-Karim Benzema, 20-Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid subs (12): 26-Luis Lopez-GK, 13-Andriy Lunin-GK, 6-Nacho Fernandez, 2-Dani Carvajal, 5-Jesus Vallejo, 12-Marcelo, 15-Federico Valverde, 25-Eduardo Camavinga, 27-Antonio Blanco, 7-Eden Hazard, 24-Mariano Diaz, 11-Marco Asensio
How to watch Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
The match will only be available in the USA via the ESPN+ streaming service, which holds exclusive rights to La Liga. There will be a Spanish- and English-language stream as with all La Liga matches on the platform. There will be an El Clasico pregame show on both ESPN2 and ESPN+ an hour before kickoff at 9 a.m. ET.
The match will be staged at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, which was greenlighted by local authorities to be open to fans at full capacity. It’s the first time that a crowd will be at the Camp Nou to witness a Clasico since December 2019.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Betting tips & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Pick: Karim Benzema any time scorer (+115)
With the emotions at play in this game and both back lines experiencing their fair share of defensive nightmares this season, there’s no telling which direction this game could go. Barcelona is missing its best defender in Ronaldo Araujo and the left back position is up in the air with Jordi Alba in doubt. Meanwhile, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has made defending a key point of emphasis for his club entering the match.
Barcelona will be under pressure from its home crowd to attack and chase the win, which could open up spaces for Real Madrid’s in-form forwards. Karim Benzema will be in the best position to take advantage, and he’s also Madrid’s designated penalty taker. To get him at +115 to score in what should be a wide open game is hard to pass up, especially in the form he’s shown (goals in five of Real Madrid’s past eight games) as he builds a case for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
It’s worth noting he has scored in a quarter of the Clasicos in his career:
Prediction: Barcelona 0, Real Madrid 2
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