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El Clásico always comes packed with talking points both before and after the game. Here are ten to be going with ahead of Saturday’s latest encounter between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid:
14: Koeman Clásicos
This will be the Dutchman’s first Clásico as a player, but he’s a veteran of such games from his playing days. He scored five goals against Real Madrid, including two penalties in his very first in October 1989.
All told, he had a 6-3-5 record, the highlights being victory on the Copa del Rey Final in 1990 and the legendary 5-0 at the Camp Nou in 1993/94.
5: Fifth Dutchman
Four of Koeman’s compatriots, Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard have previously managed Barça in El Clásico. Van Gaal has been the only one so far to debut with a win, so hopefully we can add a new name to the list on Saturday.
0: Koeman v Zidane
Koeman hung up his boots just as Real Madrid’s current manager, Zinedine Zidane, was first bursting onto the scene at Juventus. So, they never met on the pitch as players and this will be the first time they have been on opposite benches.
8: Host of debutants
None of Neto, Dest, Araujo, Junior Firpo, Pjanić, Riqui Puig, Pedri or Trincão have ever played in El Clásico before, although Neto, Junior Firpo and Pjanić all have previous experience of playing against Real Madrid with their former clubs. In fact, the Bosnian even scored against them in the 2009/10 Champions League when at Olympique Lyonnais.
26: Messi v Madrid
Nobody has scored as many goals in the fixture as Leo Messi, no fewer than 26, now eight goals more than the previous record set by Alfredo di Stéfano.
399: One more for fourth ton
FC Barcelona are just one goal shy of their 400th against their famous rival. Will it happen on Saturday and, if so, who is going to have the honour?
0: Clásicos without fans
The coronavirus crisis means this is going to be a Clásico like none before. It’s always been a game that works the stadium up into a frenzy, but there will nothing like that this time. With no fans allowed inside the ground, it’s going to be the most silent Clásico of all time.
4: Ansu Fati’s goals this season
With three goals in LaLiga and one in the Champions League, the young starlet is Barça’s top goalscorer so far this season. He is also the highest scorer out of those that can play on Saturday. Vinicius is Madrid’s top scorer with two.
96: Wins against Real Madrid
In 2019, Barça famously tied the all-time series against Real Madrid at 96 wins each after trailing for many years.
2: Clásicos without Barça scoring
Last season, Barça failed to score in either of the games against Real Madrid, and that’s a very rare circumstance indeed. Barça have only ever gone for three games in a row without scoring in the fixture, from March 1957 to February 1958. Hopefully it’s not going to happen for a second time.
A good many of these stats will need updating on Saturday. The football history books are being rewritten every day, and El Clásico has never been an exception.
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