El Clasico 2017: Real Madrid to Play Barcelona at the Bernabeu

The Madrid side have also shown resilience, winning their last three games from a goal down, and 8/1 about another win from behind also looks worth support given the attacking talent on display. Given the performances of Isco and Marco Asensio in recent weeks, choosing a replacement for Gareth Bale could be tough.

Raphael Varane and Pepe are both sidelined, leaving Real Madrid with only two central defenders available for the Clasico: Sergio Ramos and Nacho. However they were not good enough for Barcelona with Iniesta's opening goal at the 7th minute, followed by Messi's hattrick. Add to that two full backs to push forward effectively and Madrid may just think that for once they actually have the strongest midfield.

In fact, Real Madrid fans did the same for Diego Maradona, although on that occasion it was more of an anti-Madrid expression than a pro-player display.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the all-time leading scorer in El Clasico, with his total of 21 goals ahead of the 16 scored by Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was a sportsmanlike gesture, but how galling must it have been for Barcelona players to applaud their most eternal rivals on to the pitch, acknowledging and congratulating their success even before the match kicked off? Luis Enrique's side will hope to close the gap on Real Madrid, who have a game in hand plus a three-point advantage.

This is the first time in a decade that the Champions League semifinals will feature neither Barcelona nor Bayern Munich. The two-time defending champion is coming off elimination to Juventus in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The ovation for Ronaldinho came after he scored his second goal, but despite what has been said since, Ronaldinho was not the first Barca player to receive an ovation at the Bernabeu. "In the last few years we have been achieving good results there".

Barcelona: 4-3-3Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes; Iniesta, Suarez, Messi.

Isco's performances in that campaign saw him win the Golden Boy award for the best young player in Europe, and he also shone at global level by winning the 2013 European Championship with an outstanding Spain Under-21 team also containing Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Atletico Madrid's Koke and current Real team-mate Alvaro Morata. Back Los Blancos to win and Ronaldo to score first at TBA.

  • Julie Sanders