It is more than just a soccer match. El Clasico started as a match of resistance against the Franco regime in the 1930s. Barcelona versus Real Madrid is a clash of style and soccer ideologies. On the one hand the Catalans emphasize style and pretty passing football. The Meringues are almost like street wise players who employ any means necessary to win games. Common sense tells you Real Madrid will miss their captain Sergio Ramos especially with their team facing a formidable attack which has Griezmann, Ndembele and Messi. Ramos has the unenviable record of being the most carded player in EL CLASICO history so it may be a blessing in disguise he will not feature this afternoon. Do you like the Santiago Bernabeu stadium? Too bad this one will be played in a training ground like atmosphere that is called the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.

Like the decision to play there or hate it, you cannot help but applaud the ingenuity of the top brass at Real. Look, that stadium takes the pressure off the team. It is compact it is quiet which is perfect for this kind of match as Barca like the big pitch for their expansive play. Freddy Valverde was the MAN in the first encounter at Camp Nou when Real outplayed Barca and won 3-1. I doubt that he will make the first 11 though. Modric and Kroos were excellent against Liverpool mid week so I see Zidane starting with both players in mid field. All eyes are on Karim Benzema for the goals but Vinicius Junior is one to watch. The stakes could not be any higher. Barcelona and Real Madrid occupy second and third spots respectively in the La Liga standings separated by 2 points. Is there a bigger game in world soccer?