ElClasico undoubtedly brings together the biggest names in the world game. Here are just a few of the stars who’ll be on show this Saturday at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona): the current Ballon d’Or & FIFA The Best 2019… the best player in the world. The all-time top scorer in LaLiga Clasicos with 18 goals (26 in all competitions), the youngest hat-trick scorer in ElClasico history at 19, the top assist provider in ElClasico history (14 in all competitions). What more is there to say?
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): the undisputed leader of the side, captain and goalscorer. Ramos is the top-scoring defender in LaLiga history (passing Ronald Koeman last season) and has played in ElClasico more times than any other player in history with 44 in all competitions, ahead of Messi (43).
Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona): Few players could embody the Catalan club more than Pique, who came through the ranks at the club and has been a rock at the centre of defence since returning from a short spell in England in 2008. Has faced Real Madrid more times than any other club (38) with a strong record: W18 D10 L10.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid): Real’s first-choice number 9 for over a decade (an almost unprecedented spell at the top), Benzema has started every single LaLiga ElClasico since joining Real Madrid back in 2009. The Frenchman recently scored his 250th goal for the club and ranks fifth among the all-time club scorers
Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona): The arrival of Koeman – his former coach with the Dutch national team – will see the 23-year-old take centre stage in the Barcelona midfield. Signed from Ajax last season for €75 million, de Jong was picked out by club legend Xavi Hernandez for having “Barça DNA” and follows in the club’s long tradition of passing, skilful and technically gifted midfielders.
Luka Modric (Real Madrid): The 2018 Ballon d’Or and World Cup 2018 Golden Ball winner, Modric has been at the top of world football for most of the past decade. The creative spark in Zinedine Zidane’s side, the Croatian remains a fundamental cog in the team despite his age (35).
Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona): The French World Cup-winner had an up-and-down first season at Barcelona but is looking to re-establish himself as one of the best players in world football. The talent is there, which drove Barcelona to spend €120 million to bring him in from Atletico de Madrid last summer. Is this the season he comes into his own at the Camp Nou?
Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid): One of the best goalkeepers in world football, the Belgian has won the Zamora award for LaLiga’s best goalkeeper three times: in 2013 & 2014 (with Atletico de Madrid) and last season, when he conceded just 20 goals in 34 games. Awarded the Golden Glove at the 2018 World Cup for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.
And there are countless more global superstars on show: Sergio Busquets, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Coutinho… plus Eden Hazard and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who are both likely to miss out due to injury.
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