Lionel Messi is a major doubt for today’s El-Clasico but Cristiano Ronaldo still has Neymar to contend with for headlines as Real Madrid welcome their fiercest rivals, Barcelona, at the Santiago Bernabeu. El-Clasico in the last eight years has been a straight battle between Ronaldo and Messi but after an injury to the Argentine means he might not play a big part in this one, Neymar seems ready to step onto the plate and the Blaugrana faithful would look up to their Brazilian talisman to shock their opponents.
Neymar has found form in plenty dosage this term and his trajectory suggests he will be the one to finally break Messi and Ronaldo’s eight-year reign as the world’s two best players. In his first season at Barca, Neymar netted just nine league goals. In 10 games this campaign he already has 11 to lead Ronaldo and Messi as the league’s top scorer.
The signs of improvement were clear to see last season. Neymar struck 39 times in 51 games, including becoming the first player to score in both legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter and semifinals, as well as the final. This season he has gone to a new level. Argentina manager Gerardo Martino is one of those who believe Neymar is reaching the same level as his more senior colleagues.
Martino who was in charge when the Brazilian joined Barcelona said: “Neymar has reached a point of maturity. He’s in superlative form, nearly at the level of the two footballers who top them all.” Ronaldo is a winner, he gives his best each match but he takes his work rate to another level anytime he files out against Barcelona.
The Portuguese has scored in each of the last six meetings between the two clubs and he is likely going to add another one today. Real Madrid are three points behind Barca and has been sloppy in recent times no thanks largely to dip in form of their striker. Everything at Los Blancos works when CR7 is fine and the club suffers if the former Manchester United star is out of sort.
However, the Portuguese could get fired up for this one and add to his 15 El-Clasico goals. Aside Neymar, Barcelona have another in-form player, Lius Suarez, and the Uruguayan is also capable of inflicting pain on the Galacticos. Real could also bank on Gareth Bale to surprise the visistors.
Suarez made his debut for Barcelona in the same fixture following a four-month suspension after his infamous bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. Luis Enrique’s side lost 3-1 on that day, but got their revenge in the reverse fixture, winning 2-1 with the Uruguayan striker getting on the score sheet. And after scoring nine goals in 10 games so far this season the former Liverpool man is certainly one to look out for in this tie.