ot long ago, this El Clasico clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona would unquestionably have been one of the highlights of the domestic football calendar. A rivalry as big as any in world sport. A collision between two titans of the game with trophy cabinets overflowing with silverware.
Much of that is still true, and little context is needed when Barca host Madrid, but so much has changed. Rather than representing two prize fighters in their prime, these behemoths stagger into this 280th Classico with fresh wounds and deep scars.
Barcelona are a club in crisis. Their manager, Ronald Koeman has all but written off imminent success and has asked an expectant fan base for patience. After Lionel Messi’s departure in the summer, the team has struggled for cohesion. Two embarrassing defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica has left them floundering in third place in their Champions League while just four wins from eight sees them occupy an unfamiliar seventh place in La Liga.
Real Madrid haven’t exactly set the house of fire with their performances. A shock defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol was viewed as the greatest upset in the club’s history by journalists and pundits back home and unconvincing performances on the domestic front means they’re trailing early pace setters Real Sociedad by three points.
A statement is needed. Only a win will suffice.
Date, kick-off time and venue
Barcelona vs Real Madrid is scheduled for a 3:15pm BST kick-off on Sunday, October 23, 2021 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
Where to watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid
The match will be broadcast by LaLigaTV, which you can access via Amazon Prime or Premier Sports.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid team news
Trying to follow the unraveling news around Barcelona’s squad is like to trying to hold onto smoke. Ansu Fati has joined Pedri in that he too has signed a contract with a release clause of over €1 billion.
Now that should be good news, but with Ousmane Dembele, who hasn’t played a single game this season due to a knee injury, revealing he would be willing to join Newcastle once his contract expires at the end of the season, it’s hard not to wonder if these mega contracts could be used as a way of alleviating some of the gargantuan debt accrued in Catalonia.
Martin Braithwaite, Pedri and Ronald Araujo are all out injured but Eric Garcia returns from suspension.
Eden Hazard could make his return after picking up a muscular problem during Belgium’s defeat to France in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals. He missed the 5-0 rout of Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday and would dearly love to mark his comeback against Barca.
Dani Carvajal could also return after recovering from a calf strain, but Isco is a doubt with a sore back. Dani Ceballos and Gareth Bale are also unavailable.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid prediction
On paper at least, this could be the weakest Classico of the last 20 years. Neither club can claim to be a current superpower of the European game which is an almost unthinkable prospect given their historical pedigree.
However, Real do have the upper hand both in terms of player quality and recent form and will be confident of securing a win in enemy territory.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
Head to head (h2h) history and results