The Santiago Bernabeu will once again be the centre of attention on Sunday, as millions of football-loving fans from all over the globe will have their eyes glued to their television screens to watch one of the biggest matches in the footballing calendar.

Log leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Barcelona will contest the latest edition of the El Clasico, with the stakes at an all-time high. That being said, Los Blancos have history on their side and have managed to narrowly edge their arch-rivals in recent history.

Across their previous five meetings, in all competitions, Real Madrid have managed to clinch three wins, compared to the Catalonians’ two. Indeed, that spell includes lifting the Supercopa de Espana, at the expense of Xavi’s outfit who were demolished 4-1 in that final. 

The fixture between the two Spanish heavyweights has always been characterized by high intensity and competitiveness; I expect Sunday’s match to follow suit here. The added fuel to the fire provided by their beloved tactician calling an end to his tenure at the helm of the club, come the end of the season. 

Real Madrid are sitting comfortably at the summit of the log with an eight-point gap between themselves and the defending champions. If Barca are to stand any chance of defending the La Liga title this season, a win at the Santiago Bernabeu is non-negotiable.

The Blaugrana have dropped crucial points in the league leading up to this fixture, which has put them on the back foot going into Sunday. Furthermore, Xavi was handed a 2-1 defeat on home soil in the reverse fixture against Real Madrid, back in October 2023.

Carlo Ancelotti boasts a ruthless squad that has not lost a single match at home this season, which makes the mission almost impossible for the defending champions from Catalonia.

With only seven league appointments remaining, the El Clasico is Barcelona’s last chance to force a title race as we approach the tail end of the season. A win here would reduce the deficit to only five points. The question on everybody’s lips is, “Which Barcelona will turn up at the Bernabeu?”

Written by Benny Mhlongo