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El Clasico: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Team News

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With kick-off fast approaching, reports are circulating surrounding the selection of both managers ahead of tonight's El Clasico

There's been discussions about tactics, about the match itself and of course the final score; but now, with just a few hours remaining until kick-off, attentions have turned to the line-ups of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid ahead of tonight's El Clasico. Who will start? Who will miss out? With stars aplenty populating both rosters, it's certain that some big names will miss out and indeed we know that a few already will.

Club captain Carles Puyol is injured and has therefore made his final appearance in El Clasico. Sami Khedira remains sidelined for Real Madrid, while their club captain Iker Casillas remains alienated and will start on the bench.

However, striker Karim Benzema has recovered from his knock according to Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti and should therefore lead the line tonight. With 15 goals to his name this La Liga season, it's crucial that Benzema is back for Los Blancos but Madrid-based newspaper Diario AS has claimed that the French forward is far from 100% having pictured Benzema grimacing in training. With young star Jese ruled out for the next nine months, it's safe to say Benzema's workload and responsibility has increased. Can he deliver on the grandest stage of them all and delight the Santiago Bernabeu crowd?

For Barcelona, the obvious question surrounds Martino's offensive selection. Four midfielders or three? He is rumoured by virtually every single media outlet to be leaning towards the former, with many newspapers claiming that he will start Neymar in the final forward position. The Brazilian opened the scoring in the previous meeting between the two sides -- his first Clasico no less -- but has not been in great form as of late. Will he make his mark in spectacular fashion or will Martino be forced to look at his bench for reinforcements?

Reported Line-Ups:

FC Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Gérard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta; Cesc Fabregas; Neymar, Lionel Messi

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric; Angel Di Maria, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo; Karim Benzema