It can’t get any bigger than this. The two best teams in the world would lock horns yet again this season and this time the stakes are even higher. Real and Barca are going neck to neck in the race for the La Liga title. Both the teams missed out on last year’s trophy after a long haul as Diego Simeone’s Atletico stunned the Spanish giants. This year the reigning champions have knocked themselves out of contention and are currently fourth in the league behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid were leading the title race up until a loss of form earlier this month. Presently, the Catalan giants are spearheading the league, with a point advantage over their arch rivals. In October 2014, these two club sides met for the first time this season and Real Madrid registered a comfortable 3 – 1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu. Luis Suarez’s debut in La Liga was spoiled by the Los Blancos. But the clash on Sunday will be at Camp Nou and being in such great form, Luis Enrique’s men can believe to pick all three points against the European champions.
It will be a relief for many Madrid stars to play outside their home stadium. Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and a host of big name players have been booed and jeered by the Bernabeu faithful in the last few weeks. Their defeat at home to Schalke was the latest event where the fans showed displeasure and there were even reports of Ancelotti’s sacking. The scenes at Barcelona were quite similar in January as there were rumors of a rift between Lionel Messi and Barcelona boss, Luis Enrique. Barca’s blistering performances on the pitch since then have silenced all the news and rumors.
Both the teams have made it to the quarter-finals of Champions League. Real got a real scare as Schalke played with a lot of vigor and heart at Real Madrid in the second leg of the round of 16 matches. Barca on the other hand dominated over the English champions, Manchester City in both the legs of their first knock-out tie.
Let us talk out the star players. Cristiano Ronaldo started this campaign like no one else in Europe. The Portuguese ace bagged goals, assists and was terrifyingly lethal in the first half of the season. But the three-time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t at his best as a lot of on and off the pitches have taken a toll over him. Lionel Messi has regained his crown at the top after one after another marvelous performances. The diminutive Argentine has claimed that 2014 was a year to forget and it seems he would clinch his fifth Ballon d’Or next year, after missing out on previous two occasions.
The clash between these two giants of world football never ceases to entertain us. One can expect goals, tackles, cards and a few Leo Messi nutmegs if he is in mood.