The 2019/20 La Liga season will feature the world’s biggest club game on Wednesday 18 December 2019 when Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, with SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv set to be thrilled by the latest edition of ‘El Clasico’.
This match was originally scheduled to be played in late October, but La Liga took the decision to postpone the fixture due to safety fears surrounding violent protests which were ongoing in Catalonia at the time.
As ever, the meeting of Barca and Real is one which could have a major effect on the title race, with both clubs pushing hard to be placed at the summit of La Liga’s log table.
Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane has stated that his side must focus on dethroning champions Barcelona as they look to build back to their glory days, while the Blaugrana will be looking to take three points off their rivals and take a massive step toward a third straight title and a fifth in the last six La Liga seasons.
“We have 33 titles,” Zidane said. “Barca [26 titles] are doing well, I will admit when a rival is doing well, but in history, Real Madrid has more league titles. But they have been doing better lately and we need to change the dynamic.”
SuperSport viewers will also be keeping a keen eye on Lionel Messi, who is fresh from winning a sixth Ballon d’Or [world’s best player prize] and holds the all-time record for the most El Clasico goals, with 26 to his name.
“You are aware of the privilege you have [of coaching Messi], but sometimes the day to day doesn’t allow you to enjoy it,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. “Over time you enjoy it more. I’m aware of it, I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve coached Leo.”
In addition, Real captain Sergio Ramos has the chance to make a record 43rd Clasico appearance, pushing ahead of Manuel Sanchis, Francisco Gento (both Real Madrid) and Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona) in the record books.
Barcelona have enjoyed recent dominance over Real in La Liga matches, stringing together a run of six unbeaten matches and completing a league ‘double’ over the capital club last season, with 5-1 home and 1-0 away wins.
Overall, the teams have met in 242 competitive matches, with Barca claiming 96 wins compared to 95 for Madrid. This evens out to 72 wins apiece in their 178 La Liga meetings.
Don’t miss the 2019/2020 football season on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstv.com and www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.
‘El Clasico’, broadcast details, 18 December
Wednesday 18 December
21:00: Barcelona v Real Madrid – LIVE on SuperSport Maximo 2, SuperSport 7 and SuperSport Select 4 Go
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Last five La Liga meetings
2 March 2019: Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona
28 October 2018: Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid
6 May 2018: Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
23 December 2017: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona
23 April 2017: Real Madrid 2-3 Barcelona
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Head-to-head, La Liga
Matches played 178
Barcelona wins 72
Madrid wins 72
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Head-to-head, all competitions (excludes friendlies and exhibition games)
Matches played 242
Barcelona wins 96
Madrid wins 95
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Key stats
First played: 13 May 1902
Most appearances: 42 – Manuel Sanchis, Francisco Gento, Sergio Ramos* (all Real Madrid); Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)
Most goals: 26 – Lionel Messi* (Barcelona)
Most assists: 14 – Lionel Messi* (Barcelona)
Biggest win: Real Madrid 11-1 Barcelona, 19 June 1943
Most consecutive wins: 6 – Barcelona (25 January 1948 – 15 January 1949) & Real Madrid (30 September 1962 – 28 February 1965)
Longest undefeated runs: 14 – Real Madrid (31 January 1931 – 3 February 1935) & Barcelona (1 November 1917 – 3 June 1928)
Most consecutive games scored: 23 – Barcelona (27 April 2011 – 13 August 2017)
*Player still active
Key players to watch
Barcelona: Lionel Messi
With a record 26 El Clasico goals (plus a record 14 assists), Lionel Messi has truly become a master of ‘El Clasico’ and is the player Real Madrid most fear – though he did not score in either of Barca’s La Liga wins over their arch rivals last season. The Argentine recently won a sixth Ballon d’Or title to further cement his status as one of the all-time greats of the game, but his hunger to help Barca defeat Real remains undimmed.
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema
Real Madrid have had a roller coaster season thus far, but throughout their ups and downs Karim Benzema has stepped forward to become their key figurehead in attack. The veteran French striker has been banging in the goals with regularity this season, carrying the heaviest burden in attack while the likes of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Vinicius Junior have struggled to find consistency in their form.
Key battles to watch
Ernesto Valverde v Zinedine Zidane
The tactical battle of wits between Barcelona’s Ernesto Valverde and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane will be vital to deciding this edition of ‘El Clasico’. While Valverde will want to see his side control possession and feed plenty of passes to their deadly forward, Zidane’s ‘Los Blancos’ will set up to use their pace and power on the counter attack and make best use of set-piece scenarios.
Sergio Ramos v Luis Suarez
If Luis Suarez leads the line for Barcelona, he will come into direct contact with Real Madrid centre-back and captain Sergio Ramos. Suarez certainly got the better of this battle last time out at the Camp Nou, scoring a hat-trick to help his side to a 5-1 win. Ramos, who is set to make a record 43rd ‘El Clasico’ appearance will be determined to stymie the hosts.
Frenkie de Jong v Toni Kroos
This battle of elegant midfielders could fly under the radar given the stellar attacking power on display, but will be absolutely vital to the outcome of the game. Kroos’ passing range and dead-ball ability has been one of the best in Europe for almost a decade, but in de Jong Barca have a gifted young player who combines exquisite vision with quick feet and outstanding tactical nous.