A rivalry as big as any in world sport. A collision between two titans of the game with trophy cabinets overflowing with silverware.
Much of that is still true, and little context is needed when Barcelona host Madrid, but so much has changed. Rather than representing two prize fighters in their prime, these behemoths stagger into the 280th Classico with fresh wounds and deep scars.
Barcelona are a club in crisis. Their manager, Ronald Koeman has all but written off imminent success and has asked an expectant fan base for patience.
After Lionel Messi’s departure in the summer, the team has struggled for cohesion. Two embarrassing defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica has left them floundering in third place in their Champions League while just four wins from eight sees them occupy an unfamiliar seventh place in La Liga.
Real Madrid haven’t exactly set the world on fire with their performances. A shock defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol was viewed as the greatest upset in the club’s history by journalists and pundits back home and unconvincing performances on the domestic front means they’re trailing early pace setters Real Sociedad by three points.
A statement is needed. Only a win will suffice.
Date, kick-off time and venue
Barcelona vs Real Madrid is scheduled for a 3:15pm BST kick-off on Sunday, October 23, 2021 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
Where to watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid
The match will be broadcast by LaLigaTV, which you can access via Amazon Prime or Premier Sports.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid team news
Jorda Alba is for to start for Barcelona. Alba was a doubt for the game but he has been named in the Barcelona team by Ronald Koeman.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is in goal behind a back four of Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia and Jordi Alba.
Veteran Sergio Busquets will anchor the midfield, with Gavi and Frenkie de Jong either side of him.
Ansu Fati and Sergino Dest will flank Memphis Depay, who leads the line.
For Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois starts in goal behind a back four of Lucas Vazquez, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy.
Luka Modric starts in the middle of midfield with Casemiro and Toni Kroos, while Karim Benzema leads the line flanked by Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.
Karim Benzema leads the line and is flanked by Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.
Barcelona confirmed XI: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Pique, Garcia, Alba; Busquets, Gavi, De Jong; Dest, Fati, Memphis.
Real Madrid confirmed XI: Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr..
Barcelona vs Real Madrid prediction
On paper at least, this could be the weakest Clasico of the last 20 years. Neither club can claim to be a current superpower of the European game which is an almost unthinkable prospect given their historical pedigree.
However, Real do have the upper hand both in terms of player quality and recent form and will be confident of securing a win in enemy territory.
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
Head to head (h2h) history and results
Barcelona wins: 72
Real Madrid wins: 75