Benzema Starts for Real Madrid in El Clasico
Barcelona Aim for 12-Point Lead in LaLiga Title Race
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema starts for the El Clasico against Barcelona which could see the Blaugrana extend their lead in the LaLiga title race to 12 points with only 12 games to go this season.
Pedri Out with Hamstring Injury
Barcelona will be without key midfielder Pedri, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Pedri withdrew from the Spain squad for the international matches later this month before being omitted from Barcelona’s squad for the El Clasico. Reports on his fitness have been mixed, but ultimately he will not feature.
Injury Updates for Both Teams
Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele is ruled out for tonight’s game, while top scorer Robert Lewandowski has returned from injury. Uruguay defender Ronald Araujo is back from suspension and Sergi Roberto replaces Ferran Torres in a 4-4-2 system.
Real Madrid was waiting anxiously on Karim Benzema’s fitness after he picked up an injury in the Champions League last-16 second-leg victory over Liverpool. While he missed training on Friday, the 35-year-old is considered fit for El Clasico.
Ferland Mendy is back in the Madrid squad, but David Alaba and Alvaro Rodriguez are unavailable.
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; Sergi Roberto, Gavi, Busquets, De Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski.
Subs: Fati, Torres, Pena, Marcos Alonso, Alba, Kessie, Garcia, Torre, Tenas, Alarcon.
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Modric, Camavinga, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Subs: Lunin, Lopez, Vallejo, Hazard, Tchouameni, Asensio, Odriozola, Vazquez, Ceballos, Mariano, Mendy, Rodrygo.
The El Clasico is set to be a decisive match in the LaLiga title race. With both teams missing key players, the remaining players have an opportunity to step up and make their mark. Fans around the world anticipate a closely contested match.
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