The first Clásico of the 2020-21 season comes thundering into our living rooms on Saturday as Lionel Messi — perhaps for the final time — welcomes Real Madrid to the Camp Nou at 10 a.m. ET on beIN SPORTS. So how about an El Clásico prediction before then?
Honestly, I’d rather not.
One look at the LaLiga table tells you everything you need to know about the madness that currently grips these two Spanish giants. Real Madrid is in fifth after losing to Cádiz last weekend, and Barcelona is in ninth after falling against Getafe.
Real is currently in a rebuild phase, but the only actual rebuilding the club did this offseason was on the Santiago Bernabéu. The prodigal son Martin Ødegaard was recalled from his Real Sociedad loan, but otherwise Real’s summer was one of departures — most notably Gareth Bale (Tottenham) and James Rodríguez (Everton).
Concerning recruitment, the only real story is the non-story of Eden Hazard’s career since arriving for a club record $117 million in 2019. After scoring one goal in 22 appearances during an injury riddled debut campaign, he failed to feature at the start of this season before again succumbing to a muscular injury. The Belgium star is reportedly out until after November’s international break.
But while Real followed last week’s LaLiga defeat with an incredible loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, Barcelona whooped Ferencváros 5-1 in a match that showcased the current direction under Ronald Koeman.
Antoine Griezmann was benched, faith in Philippe Coutinho has been restored, Ansu Fati is the future, Messi hasn’t yet hit the heights of his own ridiculous standards and that defense still has major issues (Piqué was sent off during a play that led to a Ferencváros penalty).
Potential El Clásico Starting Lineups 2020
Barcelona: Marc-André ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti are both out with injuries, and Jordi Alba is a serious question mark with a hamstring complaint. While Miralem Pjanić started alongside Frenkie de Jong in midfield against Ferencváros, Sergio Busquets probably gets the nod in this one.
Starting XI: Neto; Sergiño Dest, Clément Lenglet, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann; Lionel Messi
Real Madrid: Dani Carvajal, Martin Ødegaard and Eden Hazard are all out through injury, but Sergio Ramos and Álvaro Odriozola should be available for selection after recovering from their bruises.
Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois; Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphaël Varane, Ferland Mendy; Luka Modrić, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Vinícius Júnior, Karim Benzema, Rodrygo
El Clasico Predictions 2020
The FIFA 21 Game Before The Game
Using FIFA 21 to decide Saturday’s match, the predicted winner is Barcelona by a 2-0 scoreline with Lionel Messi scoring a brace, including one that just crosses the goal-line.