There is no match in world football that is bigger than Real Madrid vs Barcelona. It's more than just a game, it's an event. Everybody knows how important it is. It can change a whole season, for the good and for the bad.
It's October, and another Clásico is coming. On the twenty-fifth day of the month, almost eighty-thousand people are going to fill out the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid, to witness another chapter of the greatest story in sports. It will be only the ninth league game for both teams, but it could change how La Liga goes moving forward. Anyone who scores in a game like this is part of history, and it's no different this time.
Barcelona has started the season better than expected. Six wins in seven league games, with seven clean sheets. A tough loss to Paris Saint-Germain still doesn't change the team's chances in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Luis Enrique has done a wonderful job so far, implementing his philosophy and showing that there are no absolute starters. Anyone can play, and anyone can go to the bench, no matter who you are. And it's working.
Real Madrid's situation is lot different. The team made noise in the transfer market, signing James Rodríguez, the World Cup's breakout star, and Toni Kroos, the former Bayern Munich midfield boss. But the changes didn't come without a cost: the team lost Ángel Di María and Xabi Alonso, perhaps two of the best players in the world last season. The reigning, defending UCL champions suffered a lot at the start of this season. Manager Carlo Ancelotti had difficulty to fit all the talent together, and that reflected on the pitch, with the loss to Atlético Madrid in the Spanish SuperCup. The first few games in La Liga were tough, and the team suffered a demoralizing 4-2 loss to Real Sociedad, followed by another defeat to the colchoneros at home.
But things have changed. The midfield of Kroos, Modric and James has started to click. Gareth Bale is starting to heat up. Karim Benzema is scoring important goals. And Cristiano Ronaldo is simply bananas right now, with hat-trick after hat-trick. Madrid are scary again, even though it took some time to happen.
Barça have something special prepared for Real, though: the top scorer of the toughest league in the world last season. He can be the difference-maker. Luis Suárez will make his debut exactly in the Clásico, following his amazing season at Liverpool. El Pistolero won't be at the same level of his teammates in terms of fitness, but he's still Luis Suárez.
However, it's El Clásico. Doesn't matter who's in a better moment, who's the hottest scorer, which coach is doing a better job with his players. It all goes out the window. It's ninety minutes of something bigger than just a sporting event.
We are over two weeks away from the biggest match in football. But there is already something in the air. The Clásico is coming. Brace yourselves.
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