In some of the worlds great games we talk about the local bragging rights but there is far more to this game. Madrid are backed by the Spanish royal family who once cancelled out all of their debts. Barcelona on the other hand are owned by the fans-a point which they will bring up in any conversation. The fans own the club, choose the President, and therefore choose which players they want to buy/keep. Hatred doesn't begin to cover this rivalry, as the Catalan giants of Barcelona represent everyone who dislikes the Spanish monarchy and system of government. Championships have been won and tempers have been lost in this fixture down the years, and we are now only days away from fixture number 160 between Real and Barca-I'm certain this one will follow a simila pattern as given the two clubs position in the league, it could well decide where the title goes come May;
At the moment the top of the table looks like this;
Clearly the Spanish league this year is a two horse race making "El Grand Clasico" all the more important this year. Unlike in other countries though, goal difference is not a tiebreaker. Instead the Spaniards use a head to head method, whereby if there is a tie for a position, whoever has the better results against the other side comes out on top. In this case Barcelona beat Real Madrid by 1-0 when they met earlier in the season. So if Real were to lose, they would in effect be 4 points off the pace rather than just 3. If Real win 1-0 and they finish on level points at the end of the season then we go to a goal difference tiebreaker.
Anyway, scoring technicalities out of the way, the teams are heading into the weekend with most all of their players fit. For Barca, Henry could be out as could Ibrahimovic but Xavi, Bojan, Iniesta and most importantly Messi (who has scored 6 goals against Real Madrid-the most of any current Barca player) are all fit. For Real Ronaldo, Kaka, Raul, Higuain and Sergio Ramos are all fit to play. In an interesting sub plot though the two sides goalkeepers are Victor Valdes (Barca) and Iker Casillas (Real) are competing for the goalkeeper spot at the World Cup later this year, although Casillas would have to be dramatically out of form not to be in goal for Spain.
The world awaits this enormous game, and on the back of trouncing Arsenal midweek Barcelona will look to take a step closer to the league title, but to do so they'll have to beat Real Madrid in Madrid-incidentally the same stadium where the Champions League final will be held...maybe Barca could clinch two championships in their arch enemies stadium in a year? If I was a Madrid fan I would be very very afraid right now but the championship is still in their own hands for the time being. The game kicks off at 9pm English time so I think thats 4pm USA Eastern time (I think) Feel free to comment below