The first El Clasico of the 2016-17 season goes down at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening, and there is a lot to play for between the 2 Spanish and European powerhouses.
Real Madrid holds a comfortable 6-point lead over the 2nd positioned Barcelona, and extending it to 9 will have a very big say in the title race. This surely will be the ultimate goal of Zinedine Zidane and his boys.
Enrique isn’t ignorant of this, and there would be a huge pressure on him if that happens. Closing that gap to 3 points is the best chance Barca will have to win a 3rd consecutive La Liga title.
With only a victory on his mind, here is how the former Barcelona and Real Madrid player could line up his MSN-led men.
Formation : 4-3-3
GK – Ter Stegen
The German shot-stopper has his flaws, but on his day and with his sharp reflexes in place, he is almost unbeatable.
Will have a lot to do to keep Ronaldo at bay, though.
LB – Alba
Has attained full fitness following the knock he sustained against Sociedad and would be hoping to give his best in stopping the runs and tricks of Vazquez.
CB – Umtiti
Was ruled out for a while but took part in Barcelona’s draw to Hercules during the week.
Has proven himself to be a better option than Mascherano at the back, and could be getting the nod for his first Clasico.
CB – Pique
The centre back also picked up an injury to his ankle at Anoeta last weekend but is now fully fit despite finishing that game in some pain.
The 29-year-old is a man for the big matches and could add to his Clasico goal tally.
RB – Mascherano
Once got deployed at right back this season during the 4-nil thrashing of Manchester City at Camp Nou, and could be considered a better pick for the position in order to minimise Ronaldo’s threat. Something Roberto could have a hard time dealing with.
With Iniesta just returning to fitness, he is more likely to start from the bench, and this Portugal international midfielder should be getting the action from the get go.
He has been largely underwhelming since arriving from Valencia, but the game presents him another opportunity to prove his worth.
CM – Busquets
Barcelona’s slight change in playing style has seen the form of the defensive midfielder drop over the seasons, and he has also continued playing through a niggling fitness problem this term.
However, a big game brings the best out of him and it could be the case against Madrid.
With 2 goals and 1 assist to his name, the Croatian hasn’t been at his best self this season, but he also has a knack for showing up in the big games.
LW – Neymar
The Brazilian has struggled with consistency in front of goal thus far and has only managed 4 strikes in 11 appearances.
However, moments of brilliance during counters are his speciality and this could bring them to the table on Saturday.
Not even 8 goals and 3 assists can help overshadow the Uruguayan dip in form of recent.
Will he be able to return to his splendid goalscoring form against Madrid?
RW – Messi
The Barcelona engine room almost always plays his best games in matches like these and if he is not getting a hat-trick, brace or scoring superb solo efforts, he is definitely orchestrating the goals and creating the chances.