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Just ten days to go before El Clásico on April 10! Barça are off to Valdebebas for the latest edition of the game that brings the football world to a standstill. Here are ten key things you’ll want to know ahead of the big match:
Second and third closing in on the leader
Barça (62 points) and Real Madrid (60) are second and third as they hunt down leaders Atlético Madrid (66). The red-and-whites were runaway leaders at one stage, but they’ve being dropping points and that’s allowed the ‘big two’ to get right back into contention. There is a round of games to be played before El Clásico, but the game between Real and Barça is going to have a massive bearing on this year’s championship. Whoever loses is going to need to do a LOT of work to end up with the Liga trophy at the end of the season.
Leo Messi, all-time top scorer
Leo Messi has scored 26 goals against Real Madrid, already eight more than the nearest challengers, Alfredo di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo (18). Messi scored 18 of his goals in La Liga, two in the Champions League and six in the Spanish Super Cup.
Messi and Ramos, omnipresent
The respective captains are also the players with the most appearances in the history of the fixture. Ramos has 45, and Messi has 44. They’re followed by Xavi Hernández, Manolo Sanchís and Francisco Gento (42 each) and Sergio Busquets (39).
Barça scoring goals
Barça have scored 67 league goals this season, 18 more than Madrid (49). They have also had more shots (429 v 391) and more shots on target (188 v 128). Leo Messi is the top goalscorer in the competition with 23 goals, while Real’s highest goal-getter is Karim Benzema with 17.
11 clean sheets each
Both teams have avoided conceding in 11 league games this term. Barça have conceded in total just one more goal (24) than Real Madrid (23).
Barça have the highest average possession of the two sides (65.11% v 59.79%), and have also made more passes (19,834 v 16,486), showing a clear difference in the way the two teams approach the game.
Courtois and De Jong get most time
Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper has played the most minutes of the present campaign (2,520, which is every single game), while the top man in a blaugrana jersey has been Frenkie de Jong (2,365).
Next in line for Barça are Messi (2,213) and Jordi Alba (2,175), while for the all-whites its Raphaël Varane (2,430) and Benzema.
De Jong i Messi, els jugadors més utilitzats per Koeman a la Lliga
51 players used
Between them, the two teams have fielded 51 different players this season. Ronald Koeman has used 25 and Zinedine Zidane has gone for one more with 26. The most used Barça players have been De Jong, Messi, Alba, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Antoine Griezmann and Pedri, while for Madrid the top names are Thibaut Courtois, Varane, Benzema, Casemiro, Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy.
Barça have had some awesome results against Madrid in the last decade or so, but the most recent meetings have not gone quite so well. Real won 3-1 at the Camp Nou earlier this season, and last year won 2-0 at the Bernabéu and drew 0-0 on the road. Three games without a Barça win … but hopefully this time the Catalans can get back to the habit of spectacular winning displays.
Leading in goals
Three years ago, Barça famously toppled Real Madrid as the highest scoring team in Liga history. The margin has grown since then, and Barça are 19 goals clear in the all-time stakes (6,242 goals v 6,223).
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